Skip to main content

tv   Tonight From Washington  CSPAN  June 4, 2010 6:30pm-11:00pm EDT

6:30 pm
guest: i am glad for you tt you wereble to leave that abusive relationshiand find the resources and help necessar for some peopl as i said earlier, leaving is a dangerous sin, and unless they have resources, it is more dangerous. it is a complex issue. having good local crisis centers available at local cmunity support for this will make a huge difference, and we areery committed and very pleased that you were able to get the help you needed. we want that kd of outcome for everybody. host: mary, bowling green, kentucky. caller: i was calling in response to what was just said. i am one of those women who tried to leave, tried to leave
6:31 pm
a woman before sai she came from a long line oabused women. i wanted to say that when i tried to leave, a lot of times when i called w-enforcement -- i now he three assault and battery convictis on meat. - on me. in situations where i was being beaten, in all three of those cases, i never even recved an attorney in court. i was railroaded through the system. the result is thatodai am a felon, and that applies to previous subjects, as unemployment. so i would lik to say hat law enforcement needs t be educad on posttraumatic stress disorder. host: thankou, mary. gues you raise an interesting
6:32 pm
issue about the problem of the lack of response, andomen have no other chores, they act out in response because -- when women have no other choice, they act out in response. i cannot respond to your specific circumstances, because i do not know what caused you to become a felon. but the leadership we provide around training and technical assistance of law enforcement is one of the most regressive systems we have, bu -- most aggressi assistance we have, both with violence and sexual assault, s that law enforcement knows how to respond, and prosecors know how to prosecute cases appropriately. one of our sigture grand is t provide those resources so that we can bring together the community that will support and appropriateesponse
6:33 pm
to domestic violee. hopefully it will spur significanchange around the country. st: in your years on the court, how often you hear from the man that it was self- defense, and how often did you agree with him? guest: if the woman was the perpetrator? host: right -- guest: you hear it. it is not all the time, but you do hr it. people have different interpretations of what happened. one of the signature programs of the office is training across all ofeson it is incumbent un every profession to receive appropriate training so that we knowow to listen to the facts and on cover what was going on. -- uncover what was going on
6:34 pm
paying attention to the pattern and dymics of behavior is the critical function of the judge did the same thing with la enforcement whenhey are investigating assault. we are binning to understand that not a domesti violence is a rose is a rose is a rose. there are different types of violence, and people commit violence in some cases to initiate the violence, the primary aggress, but sometimes there are defensive acts, and th can b of men and women, in response to an assault. but it is important that you are listening to the whole dynamic of what happened, so that we can he really who was the primary aggressor and who was simply trying to defen themself from an aggresse act.
6:35 pm
host: jeffery, a tacoma washington, you are the last call. caller: thank you very much. the last few minutes of this conversation answered simir questions i have -- some of the questions i have. i want to figure out how the evolution of our society haso gotten to the point where all men are so combative. we have always been in charge, always been the aggressor. but i heardhat posttraumatic stress disorder seems to be a common term for people who are underneath the stress and have toehave in certain ways to release that stres. are things being done to address that it is a hostile environment sometimes were a man has to come a home to and be a part of the children, the spouse, fathers and moers involved? guest: let me, if i c, because
6:36 pm
this is e last opportunity to talk -- we want toave an environment and society where every home is safend secure, and where men and women can both feel safe and stable nobody has to be in a home or at one is accusing the other or being subjected to physical or emotionaliolence of any sort, sexual assault, any type of crime against anybody in thei own hom particularlyomen and children. our goal is to make sure we have an environment where women and children d men can all live safe, healthy, successful lives. we want everybody to have that good outcome. host: did you evego home as a judge and cry? is hard up there on the bench. guest: what you see is really sad. it is abominabl i think for people like me, that
6:37 pm
is what motivates us to go to work every day, to take an opportuny to say that this has got to change and mobilize the resrces and the support of the community toake a difference. unless we do -- until we do that, unless we participate in making that change -- we e ed to work
6:38 pm
6:39 pm
6:40 pm
6:41 pm
6:42 pm
6:43 pm
6:44 pm
6:45 pm
6:46 pm
the tool for their economic and security interests. we are working to spec president obama's initiative by inches gently, adding u.s. business in libya. libya is an emerging market of princeton as hundreds of billions of dollars in housing and infrastructure over the next five years. libyans want american home products including cars, motorcycles, household appliances and medical supplies
6:47 pm
there are the on the ground to ensure a level plain folk. we have seen significant progress. is he hosted the first u.s. trade mission in nearly 40 years. if you've led where officials. they participated in 150 meetings with libyan businesses. the enthusiasm demonstrate libya's keen interest. we took another significant text for illustrate.
6:48 pm
hough we signed an investment trade agreement. provide a forum to address a wide range of trade and investment issues. it will help create commercial opportunities. and the political front, we are continuing in human rights style. we hope to use the mechanism that concern both of those. as libya take some important roles, including serving as
6:49 pm
president as the league, the united states will support other countries for promoting peace and stability in the reason. connect states will encourage libya as president of the un general assembly and as a member of the human rights council to the minister of the responsibilities entrusted to it in a way that encourages nations to uphold the rule of wall and respect human rights. we must work on the fundamentals. it has entered three decades of political and estrangement. an.ed states has a planetari
6:50 pm
these events range from a thanksgiving dinner for nearly 600 libyans who tested it in the to a broadway60's musical performance that lets audiences clamored for more. and the education sphere, where every unstated exchange programs and we anticipate will benefit the libyans to the united states unchaining an exchange programs. we are working to improve the curriculum at institutes across
6:51 pm
the country. we are working to increase the number of libyans studying in the united states. this is a remarkable change. to encourage them to study, the u.s. embassy is organizing the first starter. with forward to welcoming more than 60 american colleges. there are working with the libyan minister in to organize a comprehensive of dent that showcases the best. the steady will mark the first
6:52 pm
organized visits by any american college to libya in more than three decades. to facilitate it, we reestablished services. we have issued over 5000 visas and are now interviewing 50 libyan applicants. it is a lesson to visit the united states banning people to people bonds. in march, janice l. jacobs tripoli prad. we have witnessed a step forward. they announced american tourists
6:53 pm
will now be treated in the same manner as a european counterparts which will facilitate tourists and business travel. we expect to see an increasing number of tourists. the decision to relinquish the discussions presented a historic opportunity here to help the nation change course. dial-up or what will enable us to overcome the significant challenges lie ahead. after more than three decades, it will take time and sustained effort for both sides to rebuild an atmosphere of understanding. it is only. the relationship that our
6:54 pm
bilateral relationship will be able to survive. as we develop the institutions, it is important to focus not on this suffering of these years but on the many opportunities the alleged head. in there is a reservoir of goodwill toward our commercial products. it is a population that had close ties to a nation. i hope we can capitalize on this and build relationships that are out the part of diplomatic relations. we have made considerable progress in establishing the framework. my remarks today take place against the backdrop of the jet
6:55 pm
crash and the airline planes. it served as a reminder of how much our relationship with libya has involved. for the first time in decades, our countries cooperated in a investigation with officials from the transportation. given the difficult position, a person and have found this corporation to be encouraging symbol of a renewed relationship. thank you for your attention. i will be happy to take your questions. >> thank you very much. you have given us much food for
6:56 pm
thought. i am not going to and ask any questions myself. i want to introduce my colleague. he has been working on issues with the projects. there is a discussion here please, identify yourself and yes the question.
6:57 pm
>> thank you. one of the consistent things we stay here was the unpredictability for people who wanted to invest. there is simply a level of risk. are there sectors where people have been able to overcome a lot of the obstacles were they have been able to invest it? where are the issues were the
6:58 pm
unpredictability continues to loom large? >> there certainly is a level of risk and a level above predictability. they begin to welcome the united states business. we are late in the game. we have had some successes. our companies came back. they are doing as well as anybody else.
6:59 pm
i think there is a very big economic team in libya starting with the minister of finance. several people who we have met several weeks ago our trade representatives and met all these people. part of the reason we wanted to push it so hard to was the cousin of the unpredictability. what it does is put the commercial and economic relationships into an institutional basis. when it comes up with respect to market access and we do not have
7:00 pm
to do it helter-skelter. the libyans have taken some pretty positive steps burd. there will be two new banks will be privatized. they have passed laws relating to tax-free status. i think they are moving in a positive manner. there are them problems in the past several months. political issues have intruded into the commercial sector. that does not send a good signal to the rest of the commercial enterprises.
7:01 pm
they may well continue. the political situation is unpredictable. they are moving in the right direction. american companies are ready and will welcome. the encouraging part of that is a thing want american companies to have the strictest standards. despite the fact they note that american companies are on a tight leash, they still want them. . . can you share in the impressions of the libyan
7:02 pm
leader that was mentioned? i hear he is investing in hollywood movies. >> with respect to the leader, ambassadors do not get a lot of access. with the access i have had, i have had a very good conversation with him where we discussed the full gamut of u.s. bilateral relations. . i think some good things have come from that meeting. i think the sheik is the successor to the leader.
7:03 pm
i find him to be very thoughtful. he certainly, as far as i can tell, is inclined to a good relationship with united states and the west. he is very interested in raising the level of the standard of living of the libyan people. in terms of reform, i think he is a potential reformist. i think he has tried, around the edges, to push the envelope. there is a very difficult conservative group in libya, which does not want change. he has had to counter them back and forth. i think that he has been offered a formal position, and he has yet to take it. he is riding -- he is waiting for the right circumstances so that when he takes the position he will be able to have little bit more latitude to undertake the kind of reforms that he
7:04 pm
would like to in society. is not going to be easy. i think he is very aware of that. as we look to the future, if in fact he does come to play an important role, i think we will see -- i cannot say significant change -- but i think we will see a change in a lot of the areas that we would like to see change in. >> i am the executive director from an organization in libya. i have, first of all, a desire to congratulate you on your work. i saw you at the state department. i wanted to ask you, what are the complete step that you taken -- concrete steps that you have taken to serve in the absence of some of the
7:05 pm
organizations in the country as we know it? i am originally from the eastern part of libya. in the 1960's, i had my visa taken before i became an american citizen. until now, anybody from the eastern part, to have any kind of facility, they would have to come to tripoli. are you thinking of expanding your service is there? i think that is very important. it is a very large country. we need to facilitate more relationship with you. >> with respect to your first question, which is a very difficult one, actually, a very important part of the united states agenda in any country, especially one that we've just come back to after 30 years, is the promotion of democracy, the expansion of civil society. as you can guess, it is a very, very delicate issue for the
7:06 pm
libyans. there are really no organizations that are not government-licensed at this particular point. we have to, in fact, be very careful in the way we approach this. i am not saying that is necessarily the way that we want to do it, but, to be realistic, it is the way we have to. it is going to be an evolutionary, rather than revolutionary, process. what we want to do is to try to find those areas where we can make a difference, so that in fact we are present when the reform space opens up. so, what we do is, we try, through, for example, our people to people ties, opening up the pieces and having people come back and forth -- which has a tremendous multiplier effect. the more they come here, the more they see, and then the more they talk when they go back. we do it through commercial
7:07 pm
training, for example. for example, we have a training of libyan judges. we have a very, very active and aggressive program to bring libyan judges to the united states to see how we work. we have brought our judges to libya, as well. what this does is, it sets up a potential for libya, especially in the commercial sector, to have a judiciary that works according to the law, but, in terms of the commercial environment, allows for the collected the -- allows for the sanctity of contracts, it will also allow for arbitration. these are very powerful things. i will agree that these are not the sexy topics. they are not the most important and as we would like to do with respect to the overall expansion -- important things that we would like to do with respect to the overall
7:08 pm
expansion. we have to be careful. we are trying did we have looked at the foundation. -- we're trying. we looked up the foundation. we are looking at other foundations for partnerships. on women's abuse, we have some programs we're trying to cultivate. we are trying to work with -- in the medical field, we have had an active dialogue with them. we have seen some progress in trafficking in persons. while, as i said, this does not satisfy what we would like to do, it is a good start. it enables us to work at a pace which does not cause any government pressure to come down on us. we will continue to look for the opportunities that we can to expand at it with respect to your second question, you are absolutely right. -- that we can expand that space
7:09 pm
with respect. as to the possibility of expanding, we would love to, i am sure. that is a bridge that is too far at this particular point. we're taking into account the needs of the people of the eastern part of the country. >> thank you. >> let me take the advantage and ask a question myself. you mention the relation between libya's role with respect to the arab league and in respect of foreign countries. one gets the impression sometimes that libya is having -- perhaps one should say the president is having a great deal of trouble deciding whether he wants libya to be part of africa or to be part of the arab world. what extent is the interested
7:10 pm
in being part of that region? can you comment on this? >> prior to several years ago, the colonel certainly tried to play a lead role in the arab world. for certain reasons, he was probably not as successful as he would have liked to have been. at some point, he did turn his attention to africa. he pursued a very active anpoliy with the africans, which led to the creation of the african union on september 9, 1999. he became the chairman last year. he was a very active member last year, trying to promote a one africa policy, which i think has been met with a lot of resistance among several of the africans, because it was moving too quickly. i think they thought the concept
7:11 pm
was a good one, but that the timing was just not right, given the differences in the states of development, especially in terms of governmental structures of various african countries. i think he sees himself in libya playing the role in both. he may not be as active as he was in africa, just by virtue of the fact that he is no longer chairman. but certainly, as they hosted the arab league summit, back in march, he certainly played an active role in that. i think he is trying to do both. i think he sees himself as a vital member of both worlds. >> yes. thank you very much. [unintelligible]
7:12 pm
first, i would very much like to thank you, ambassador. i was very much plan into -- planning to [inaudible] what we are hearing from our sources in libya, one important thing [inaudible] is the consensus that as long as gaddafi is in power, there will
7:13 pm
be no real, genuine reform. everybody in libya is accepting this as fact, and would like to convey this fact to anybody who is following the libyan country. this leaddr has been 40 years in power. he has his own style. i do not want to talk about his record. it is not very pleasant. for the sake of the future, that is what they are telling us. there will be no room for genuine and meaningful reform in libya as long as gaddafi is in power, pweriod. -- period. that is what they're telling us. i would like very much for our government and our ambassador to get engaged in one of the very hot issues in libya. this issue reminded me of other
7:14 pm
issues. it is the issue of what is called a massacre. i believe the ambassador must have heard something. he sent some of these people out there. there are people who are weekly demonstrating and asking for t heir list of demands to be answered by the libyan government. 1200 people were massacred in one day. everybody knows who is behind that. the people there are asking governments, institutions, ambassadorships, to look carefully at this. the way the government of libya is handling this is not the proper way. thank you very much.
7:15 pm
>> i do not think i am capable to say -- to address the issue whether there will be no real reform in libya during the time with colonel gaddafi. there have been some positive developments. i will not call them major developments. for example, you know that a few months ago, the human rights watch held the open conference where they talked about the issues in libya with human rights findings. at that meeting, there was a direct and quite unprecedented, open -- i will not call of the competition, but at least a dialogue -- a confrontation, but at least a dialogue. i think what came out of that was a promise to follow up and
7:16 pm
take into account what the families were asking in terms of debt certificates, compensation, and what happened to their loved ones during that particular episode. there is some movement. i cannot say that it probably satisfies those who were involved, those who have their loved ones killed there, but it is some measure of the fact that there can be some dialogue, in some instances. there have been some releases of people from prisons, including some people who would -- who had been held beyond their terms for different offenses. also, again, going back to the sheik, he has been trying to pushhthe envelope, whether through the media or
7:17 pm
through his efforts with respect to the rehabilitation of former terrorists. i would not say that this is no chance of reform. what i would say is that it is a very delicate issue and that there are people there who are seeking to try to reform, but it is going to be a very difficult process. i would not give up hope and say that nothing can happen, because we have seen some steps, and satisfactory as they are, but some steps. actory as they are, but some steps. ok. >> i am sorry that i was late. i am from the national
7:18 pm
conference of libyan opposition. i want to thank you, ambassador, for continuing the work. the united states except any sort of pressure on the -- does the united states exert any sort of pressure on the government of libya? this is my first question. my second is, how do you view the evolving relationship with the libyan regime, taking into account the government of libya being one of the most corrupt governments in the world? it is a dictatorship. there is no freedom of speech, not any kind of freedom, really. people are suffering. since you said you visited, i am
7:19 pm
sure you are aware of the deaths and a very dire situations. if you go a little further east -- and aware of the very dire situations. if you go a little further east, you will see even worse. i would also bring to mind the idea that gaddafi -- it is far from true. he is fighting everybody who opposes this. he is trying to fight for the rights and freedoms. if you go to some cities, you will find young men being recruited -- they are in dire situations, they have no future,
7:20 pm
no education, no job -- they are recruited under the watchful eye of the regime security forces, and listen to iraq to fight the americans. this is a fact that has been written about in newsweek last year. this is a -- this shows how gaddafi never changes. he is the same. i would like to hear your view on that. thank you. >> we have been absent from libya for almost 30 years. we are just back in really the second year of formalization. i am not going to justify the fact that we do not have a very public campaign of pressure on libya, at this point, because i do not think it would be very effective. we're just in the stages of
7:21 pm
establishing a relationship with them. there is still a lot of suspicion. we have had a few incidents in the past where we have tried to do very public events or incidents with respect to pushing the human rights envelope, and we have gotten a lot of blow back on it. i think it was a little bit counter-productive. it is not the situation that i would like, but it is a situation that we face. i can assure you that we conduct a very vigorous human rights dialogue with them. it is done behind closed doors. i can -- i know that is not a very satisfactory answer, but i have found, and i -- maybe these will come out at some point when we do a diplomatic history -- and that, in fact, there have been some successes that we have
7:22 pm
had when we have tackled the most sensitive and delicate issues of human rights behind closed doors, rather than putting it out in the public domain. i think that is probably going to have to be the way for a while that we operate. -- to be the way, at least for awhile, that we operate, until we get to the point were we have a relationship and we can impact events as we do in the other countries. it will be an evolutionary process. just because you do not hear about what we're doing in public and we are not taking a very aggressive stance in public, it does not mean we are not doing things. we are. it is being done in a way that we judge to be most appropriate and that will lead to some results, given the circumstances that we face. as far as, you know, the fact
7:23 pm
that -- you labeled colonel gaddafi as a dictator and that there were no freedoms and all. both republican and democratic administrations have now determined that our relationship with libya is in the u.s.'s national security iiterests. on the basis of that, i have argued, and i think we continue to argue at the highest levels, that engagement is in the u.s.'s interests. in that context, we will try to achieve the kind of goals and the kind of civil society reforms, and all of the kinds of things that we stand for as a country and nation and people, but we will do it, hopefully, in a way that will be successful over time, as we develop the
7:24 pm
relationship. >> i am with the u.s.-libya business association. >> thank you, ambassador cretz, for your wise words. we heard that so little is changing and that as long as it is using it -- it is universally acknowledge that so long as gaddafi is in power nothing will change. we have heard here that -- i will show you that gaddafi never changes. all like to focus on the exact opposite. libya is a rapidly changing, volatile place, economically and politically. in fact, in the late 1990's, during the sanctions, economic liberalization -- it has grown in the last decade. could you comment on the tremendous changes that the libyan economy, both private and
7:25 pm
governmental, sectors have seen? could you talk about the recent passage of law 9, depicting libya as a place of rapid -- rapid change on these issues, because it had been so government-controlled in the the's? >> i agree with you appeared on the economic side -- which i think i tried to address -- i agree with you. on the economic side -- which i think i try to address -- there has been tremendous economic activity. they generate approximately $130 billion worth of projects. a lot of it was, in the the beginning stages a few years ago, when it embarked on this major program, a lot of the contracts and development schemes were very much helter- skelter and a frenzied attempt to try to get up with, as i
7:26 pm
said, 40 years of basic stagnation. they are, in terms of the new laws that they have come in terms of partnerships, in terms of privatization of banks, in terms of letters of credit, they are expanding and they are a very dynamic -- there are very dynamic openings according to that. the fact that companies are coming in is another testimony to that. the fact that they have a very good economic team not realize is that they -- the economic team that realizes that this is their future and they have to develop institutions that meet international standards if they are going to be able to attract the kind of technology and companies that they know is necessary for their companies -- for their country. on the economic front, absolutely. again, the caveat is that we
7:27 pm
are in a very volatile and unpredictable, both political and economic situation, where things can change from one day to the next, quite honestly. it has happened several times just in the time that i hhve been there. there are people who are beginning to realize that if libya is going to shed its image of unpredictability and volatility, they are going to have to be more institutional with respect to the kind of procedures and standards that they operate by. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. i in from libya. i would like to know your comments on the european union about the speech in cairo when he talked about the constitution. thank you. >> as i said, he has been kind
7:28 pm
of all over the map in terms of trying to test the entire spectrum of potential reforms in libya that i think he would like the country to go in. the constitution, as far as i know, as been worked on foo the past several years. they started with -- has been worked on for the past several years, starting with scholars from the united tates and europe. they came to a document that seemed to be almost ready for prime time. there was a delay. i expect that, as he makes the decision as to how he will either take this new position or not take it, we will again seek talks and hopefully action about putting a constitution in place, as well as other reforms.
7:29 pm
>> and i asked you to go back to the question -- can i ask you to go back to the question about the briefing concerning the counter-terrorist program and the efforts the country has made in the reeducation of radicals and that whole aspect of what is going on in the country? if you do not mind, perhaps you can get into the discussion after that. >> this was basically the initiative to try to rehabilitate the members of the libyan islamic fighting group who had gone off to a afghanistan and had come back and had begun as a group, which saw the overthrow of the gaddafi regime, and then morphed into
7:30 pm
more of the al qaeda network, establishing links with other al qaeda groups. he saw, as a chance -- he saw it as a chance to reduce the impact and the attractiveness of the radical islamic theology. he did it in the very step-by- step process. he spent lot of time. -- he and his associates spent a lot of time through the endowment organization. they inttrviewed these people and they found out what was at the core -- why they became radicals. systematically, they, in effect, kind of tore down the theology by having moderate shakes come in and talk about the real value
7:31 pm
of islam. -- sheiks come in and talk about the real volume of islam. he methodically went in to talk about the political tenets they seemed to espoused by arguing that the libya they had left several years ago and then come back to was a different place. this resulted in the first wave of releases last year and the most recent one of about 214 people, which was very highly publicized. i think several scholars from around the world ttended it. the question will be what will be the polyps -- the follow-up. is there follow-up to make sure there is no recidivism? how do they ensure that they get good jobs? how do they ensure that the rehabilitation that they have undergone, in effect, sticks in the future?
7:32 pm
it was a very -- i think it was well-received. the extent to which it will be able to be applied to other organizations and situations in the world -- i think the jury is still out. at least for the libyan situation, i think it was a very positive development. with respect to counter terrorism in general, we have one of the strongest tenets since we began the new relationship with libya back in the early 2000's. the yielding of their weapons of mass destruction program, as well as a very robust counter- terrorism cooperation program with the united states. >> would you like him to talk as well? >> thank you. i am not sure how much i can add to that. when you look at what happened in libya, especially recently,
7:33 pm
it says a lot about domestic libyan politics and domestic libyan concerns. neutralizing the libyan islamic fighting group as or threat to the regime was very important. -- american samoa a threat to the regime was very important. i'm not -- as a threat to the regime was very important. it has been extremely difficult to get information about what this process was that happened inside libya, especially inside the prisons with the drafting of this pronunciation document. what strikes me as the most important thing will be the follow-through. letting people out of prison is easy. it is reintegrating them, providing alternatives, and providing the after care programs to make sure people do not return to programs and police they do not want to be returnee to the -- that is the most important part. there were the 200-odd people who were just released a few months ago. i think several former militants have said, if the regime does
7:34 pm
not provide jobs, education, alternatives, they will return to what they were doing before. the most important part is yet to come. >> mr. ambassador, i know about the debate between the libyans and the fighting groups. when my colleagues in yell libya -- in libya was a go- between -- one of my colleagues in libya was a go-between. there is an eternal question -- an inteenal question. in a country where political aggression is not available -- it is denied. everybody knows the reality there that the revolutionary committees are running the affairs there. the question is, do you see, in
7:35 pm
your observations and in your feedback from the country, there is a willingness to open up the political system? if there is no opening up of the political system, the incorporation of these people into it will be a difficult thing. the jury is out. they might not be successful. even though, in tripoli, there was a meeting with scholars from outside the country who are discussing the recantation of the principles of the fighting groups and so on. it has gotten a good reception from many scholars from all over the arab world who followed it. as someone who is in the field there, what do you think will be done? there is some kind of communication to maybe follow
7:36 pm
up here or in morocco corp., -- in morocco or mauritania. >> on the potential return question, there are people in libya who espouse reform, although quietly. the most vocal, obviously, has been the shape of islam -- sheik al-islam. we can hope for reform. at this point, it seems to lie almost exclusively in his hands. i am not sure -- safe is -- he is the one who pushed it. he has pushed the envelope at times. at times, he as been successful. at times, he as been pushed aside -- at times, he has been
7:37 pm
successful. at times, he has been pushed aside. we look to them as the gauge as to whether the reform movement is going up or down, and what exactly the limits are. >> could have tried to return to what the first part of your question was? -- could i try to return to what the first part of your question was? i have been following libyan politics for five years. a few years ago, people thought that direct democracy -- the people's congress process -- was not only ineffective, but was widely seen to be ineffective. people were thinking a few years ago that that action was just going to stop. do you still see the same forms of these local councils that have the same sort of theater of
7:38 pm
direct democracy being pursued with the same level of engagement as in several years past? do you sense that there is not so much going on, but it has not been replaced by something? where is it in terms of seeing something that looks like elections in government that people can touch? is it going behind closed doors, or is there a public theater that people are being exposed to? >> my own personal sense is that it is as you have described with respect to the foot public theater aspect of it. i think they -- with respect to the public theater aspect of it. i think there has been a lot of media attention and a lot of government promotion of the idea that these people's congresses are in effect a real expression of the people's will. i think they are meeting and
7:39 pm
they seem to be given, at least in the media, some role in terms of decision making. the are highly publicized -- they are highly publicized. at the end of the day, the decisions are made by a very small group of people. i do not think that concept that has begun 40 years ago and that was constantly shaken up, at least in my opinion, and what i have seen, has resulted in any great movement toward the concept of a real people's democracy. >> one of the things that is really difficult to imagine for most of us is how a process of political transformation is
7:40 pm
going to take place. i start from the assumption that this is a system that is probably not going to survive -- it cannot survive. who knows for how long? it is bound to change. the simplistic answer is, will they when they recognize that this does not work and there will be elections -- it will not happen this week. it is not quite that simple. do you see anything happening that will show the process of transformation beginning? are there any areas that are indicating political change, for example? >> for -- i have to be honest, i do not hear a lot of it. the political context is repressive. i hate to keep coming back to the fact that the shake is the
7:41 pm
sheik is -- that the sheik is the symbol of whatever passes for political debate that goes on in the country. we see very little discussion of what a future libya would look like. as i said, there is talk of reform, but i have not seen anything that would pass for real, analytical debate or discussion about the forms of government that would replace the current system as of right now. >> mr. ambassador, since i am one of the people who follow the dynamics bear, even if -- the dynamics there, even if they got the -- there was aggression.
7:42 pm
tb was confiscated. -- the tv was confiscated. there was an experience for about four months -- an experiment for about four months and and was struck down. he called for -- and it was struck down. he called for all of these things and then closed them%+ down. he is still surviving and has said he does not want to play a political role. he refuses to take the offer. but i know that the country is not as it used to be -- a closed society. since all of this could have led to a better reform -- some degree of reform -- they're all repressed -- they were all
7:43 pm
repressed. >> i think the answer is clear. there is a very powerful combusted group. -- barry powerful, vested -- a ed group.rful, bestevestsed there are very much in vested -- invested in the status quo. when the attempt to change it in the slightest way, they -- when they attempt to change it in the slightest way, they have attained enough power to stop it. the sheik has tried several things and has gotten a little bit further each time, but then he basically gets slapped down when he crosses what is considered a red line of sorts. >> [unintelligible] >> other than? >> [inaudible]
7:44 pm
>> right. it is a tough slog. i cannot -- it is a difficult issue to talk about because it is not talked a lot about in india -- libya. i do not hear a lot. there is a lot of concern about talking to us as american diplomats. there are still a lot of sensitivities about the issue. >> i am going to redirect the discussion just a little bit. it is very much related to the idea of civic action i know that in a lot of other mother it -- middle eastern and african countries, the state department sponsors gender enlistment --
7:45 pm
gender empowerment and sofas forth. -- and so forth. i have gotten the impression that it is a peripheral attempt that is controversial and i was wondering if you have similar initiatives on the ground in libya. do you have plans to promote something along those lines? >> i would not call them briefly. i would call them pragmatic -- i would not call them peripheral. i would call them pragmatic, given the context in which we operate. when we talk about the men in issues, specifically, -- feminine issues, specifically -- >> i would talk about incorporating women into the political process. i understand it is problematic, because the process itself is problematic. you mentioned your people to
7:46 pm
people initiative. you mentioned these educational initiatives. have there been other pragmatic ways that the state department has tried to incorporate women into more political awareness, if nothing else? the mother was -- i met a libyan woman several weeks ago who -- >> there was -- i met a libyan women several weeks ago who is trying to form an ngo, even though that word is not exactly accepted easily in libya, that would, in fact, attempt to raise women's awareness and to get them to participate more in whatever fields they could. we have asked her for a proposal. if we get that from her, we will see if we can fund a project like that. we are on the lookout. we are also trying to think of ourselves, what are the kinds of
7:47 pm
areas and projects that we could do with the organizations that exist now on the ground, as well as looking for new opportunities. >> one other common tour was speaking on your progress promoting economic initiatives. could there be something with gender empowerment within the economic arena? could you incorporate women into the labor force? we have looked at and i think we have made some progress at empowering women entrepreneurs, especially in the smaller and medium business enterprises. that is a project that we're just getting off the ground very slowly. it is another area that offer some potential. we want to get women from the homes into the workplace. the thank you -- >> thank you. >> thank you.
7:48 pm
i just want to add some comments about what my friend did said. he has been making this statement for maybe six or seven years. whenever he made this statement publicly, the great leader would come and contradict him completely. i do not think it is the revolutionary members. they have no eal power, except on the people, but not on the making of decisions, and not on the revolution. it is the big guy himself who is contradicting his son. i am sure the closing down of the tv station and the newspaper is coming from him personally. nothing, nothing, and i am sure
7:49 pm
he is aware of it -- nothing is happening in india without muammar al-gaddafi. this is so clear to everybody. i am not -- i do not think, if he truly wants to make reforms in libya, or change libya, if he is sincere enough, why is he putting those redlines? gaddafi -- nobody says a word even in the constitution and says he is above everything -- constitution, it says he is above everything. this is the problem. if people sincerely want to make
7:50 pm
reform -- if he sincerely wanted to make record, he would start doing it for himself. stop spending the libyan money you have not earned. for example, he pays this college in london to make his speeches -- $1.50 berlin -- 1.50 sterling. he made the same speech. what i guess i got from that speech was the statement made by his predecessor -- professor. you need to come back here to school to take a short course in the rule of law and the ability of the people to collect and change the president. this was said by his professor. it said nothing about those
7:51 pm
things in his speech. he talked about democracy and committees and the sorts of things. we know those things are not his policies. we talked about the economic effect when some people said there was a lot of movement. you know who controls everything in the via -- in libya -- everything with big business -- it is gaddafi, his wife, his children. these are the big companies -- they own everything. we do not -- i live in america and i am an american citizen. i have been away. i've not been in the field for
7:52 pm
the last 30 years, but we still have family and friends there. there is no real change. thank you. >> thank you. >> since we are short on time, i will take the last few questions. >> mine will just be an observation, picking up on him what was said about gender empowerment. -- picking up on what was said about gender empowerment. i was a u.s. diplomat in libya, arriving in the summer of 1969. i know that seems like ancient history to you. it does not seem that long ago to me. [laughter] i was in the country for three years. i never met a single libyan women -- not one. they did not go outside of their homes. my wife met very few.
7:53 pm
when i went back to libya, one change i noticed, which was clearly a change for the better, was the presence of women in government offices and businesses. i spoke twice before public groups. once was at the university and once was at the book's center and both time there were women in the audience. both time, the women got up and asked questions. there were very assertive. they seemed to be accepted as -- they were very assertive. they seem to be accepted as equals in the political, public marketplace. when i was at the university, about 40% in the office or women faculty members or women students. -- about 40% in the audience were women faculty members or women students. perhaps it does not seem like a
7:54 pm
huge amount of change over 40 years, but, to me, it seemed dramatic. i do not know what all of the reasons were for that. maybe it would have happened anyway. maybe gaddafi had something to do with it. but it was a huge change. i think the libyans are still coming to terms with it. i think they will come to terms with this in their own fashion. i do not think they are going to be guided to much by us -- too much by us. another one of these countries, where there are more women involved in parliament, when they have one, the general people's congress -- there may be a higher percentage of women's represented and in the congress of the united states. -- higher percentage of women represented than in the congress
7:55 pm
of the united states. i think it is a change for the better. >> do you have any other questions or comments before i turn it over to the ambassador? >> yes prepared -- yes. [inaudible] i do agree with the ambassador. i say that because i know that his job and his mission -- because i know his job and his mission. i would like to emphasize what he referred to and mentioned as a real engagement -- as re- engagement. he mentioned judges and other programs. i believe that is what is going
7:56 pm
to bring -- i hope that there will be more programs on other levels and other fields with a little bit of a push. i hope that you will succeed. >> thank you. >> ok. >> thank you for all of your questions. i really -- i have a lot of homework to do, to go back and better answer the questions on the reforms, certainly. we have a lot of work to do in this relationship. the only thing i can say is that, 30 years of estrangement is a long, long time. it is along -- a lot to overcome, not only in the way we do not understand each other, that we do not talk to each each other's systems, but we are making slow, but steady
7:57 pm
progress. but that takes engagement. i know that there is still a very difficult situation here in washington and certainly in the united states with respect to dealing with colonel gaddafi and with the libyans because of the past. certainly, i have always, in any speeches i give or any comments i made in public, said that the past is a big we cannot forgive or forget, but at the same time -- the past is something we cannot forgive or forget, but at the same time, this is a population that offers low hanging fruit in terms of being pro-american, in terms of wanting us there. even on a governmental level, they want our relationship with us. to the extent that the past continues to be a major factor, that will be the extent to which we're probably not want to be able to move ahead too quickly.
7:58 pm
i would assure you that in the embassy and the state department, we respect the past. we know it exists and we take into account. we cannot go into these discussions with libya blindly. there is a national interest to be pursued. it will be difficult. we will try to get to all of the concerns that you have raised here in terms of human rights, reform, women's empowerment, all of those different issues. it is going to be a very slow process, by virtue of the fact that we are just newly back into libya. we will continue to try, but i do not want to give the sense that we will give short shrift to any of the issues that you have mentioned here. it is a very difficult environment. they are very suspicious of us. we have to tread carefully, in
7:59 pm
the hope that we will play a role in the future of libya when the environment is more right -- ripe. that is not to say that we will not do everything we can within the context, tools, and resources that we have that the current time. >> thank you very much. [applause] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> before you run away, there are some people at this meeting who i do not count among the usual suspects who have come to these meetings. if you're interested in receiving invitations and being kept informed, please let me have your information before you disappear, and we will make sure -- thank you.
8:00 pm
>> this is c-span, public affairs programming ccurtesy of america's cable companies. next, president obama visits the gulf coast to discuss the latest on the oil spill.
8:01 pm
then, c-span's cameras followed charlie melancon as the tour's this area. later, general odierno has the latest on security and the iraq. . [no audio]
8:02 pm
>> i know that a lot of the press may be curious about what is happening with the intent to cap the well. i don't want to go into technical detail here. until we get a chance to talk directly with command-and- control about what is happening there. it does appear that the cap at least for now is holding. they are slowly ratcheting up the amount of oil that is being extracted and being careful that they do not dislodge or disrupt the cap. we will know more within the next 24 or 48 hours. it is way too early to be optimistic. we will give you more thorough briefing when we know more. we spent a lot of time you are just talking about the
8:03 pm
logistics of the response on the shore as oil begins to come in. everybody here has particular concerns because we have limited resources. we are trying to get more booms into the places where we need. some in alabama was not whereeit was supposed to be. the governor was appropriately concerned. that is a mild way to put it, about what is being done with respect to alabama. i told him that we would be meeting with him individually. over the course of this weekend, he will call a meeting and we will need to sort this out. here in louisiana, there are still areas where for example,
8:04 pm
the mayor was talking to fishermen. they want to try to build up some barriers in the estuaries and areas that are particularly vulnerable. thad allen be following up with each of the parish presidents to determine what is going on. we want to make sure that organizationally, things are working the way they should. we now have a coastguard official is stationed [unintelligible] and we also have a bp official crustacean with each parish president to make sure they have direct access and can respond quickly. that is true in louisiana, alabama, as well as in florida. we want to have that same kind of representation and rapid
8:05 pm
response. my understanding is that bp has contracted for $50 million worth of tv advertising to manage their imaae during the course of this disaster. in addition, there are reports that bp will be paying $10.50 billion in dividend payments this quarter. i don't have a problem with bp fulfilling its legal obligations, but i want bp to be very clear, that have moral and legal obligations here in the gulf for the damage that has been done. what i don't want to hear is, when they are spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money
8:06 pm
on tv advertising, that they are nickel-and-diming fisherman or small businesses here in the gulf who are having a hard time. we have assigned federal folks to look over because the shoulder and work with state and local officials to make sure that planes are being processed quickly and fairly and that bp is not lawyerrng up, essentially. they say they want to make it right. that is part of their advertising campaign. we want them to make it right. what that means is if a fisherman got a $5,000 check and the next time it goes in, bp is saying they need documentation and it may take 60 days or 30 days to process, that fisherman, with all his money tied up in that boat, this may not be able to hang on for another 60 days.
8:07 pm
he may lose his boat and his livelihood. we just heard from one of the parish residents about the shrimp processing plant. they have a bunch of shrimp on ice that they are selling in the stores, but they are not bringing any new product in. bp says to them that their sales do not seem to have declined. they have to explain that they have had to lay off older workers because they are not bringing in any new shrimp and the coverage will be there in the next few weeks.+ bp has to be able to anticipate that. the key point i am making here is, this has been a disaster for this region. people are understandably frightened and concerned about what the next ffw months and years may hold. i am absolutely confident about the resilience of this area long term, but if weecan make sure that pp ithe key is doing the rt
8:08 pm
thing on the front in, it will make it easier to cover it on the back in. it will end up being cheaper for b p. my administration is emphasizing this. i want to hear it directly from me and i want the public to hear from me, they need to make sure that they are following through on these claims in an expeditious, fair way. if they are not, then we will stay on them about it. we have already submitted one bill, and they are not saying they are not paying it. i do not want to anticipate problems, but we are starting to see on the local level folks experiencing problems. we do not want those problems to build up. the fact that bp could pay $10.5
8:09 pm
billion dividend payment is indicative of how much money these folks have been making. given the fact that they did not fully account for the risks, i don't want someone else bearing the cost of those risks that they took. i want to make sure of that. the last point i want to make is, we did talk about what the internal quality is down here right now. lisa jackson has been down here all week, and she went all across the state of louisiana. she will be monitoring what is going on in alabama and florida as well. so far, the air quality, water quality is continually being tested. it does not seem to be much elevated from normal levvls, but
8:10 pm
i want to emphasize something that she just told us. people who are on side involved in cleanup, they have to be mindful of the fact that we are dealing with toxins here. this could make people very sick if they are not careful. they have to get the appropriate training and the the appropriate equipment. if they get sick, we now have held centers stationed at each of these points. >> we have health and safety, officers and stations at each muster point. if someone comes in and deals that they have been exposed, the first thing to do is reported so that we have a record and can track it down and ensure that they are not in any way penalized for reporting and making sure they put their help first. -- put their health first. >> i just want to emphasize that everyone down here, from the
8:11 pm
local officials and state officials, are working as hard as they can. our federal teams are working as hard as they can. there will still be glitches, arguments, and disagreements between local and state, state and federal, but when everybody had beat the and states in terms of how they are allocating some of the resources. thad allen has committed to meet and the people of the gulf that we are going to cut through the bureaucratic red tape, any problems we have, and we will fix problems that have been identified. that was the commitment i made last week. some of the problems have been fixed, and some new ones have surfaced. we will keep coming back until we have dealt with an unprecedented crisis. i am very thankful to everybody for the constructive meeting and
8:12 pm
the constructive approach everyone is taking in terms of solving this problem. >> what about the economic difficulties from the drilling moratorium? >> we had a conversation about that as well. what i told them was very simple. when i made the decision to issue the moratorium, we knew that would have an economic impact. what i also knew is that there was no way that we can go about business as usual when we discovered that companies like be peaking who had provided assurances -- companies like bp that had provided assurances that they had failed savings, but find out that had no idea what to do when the failsafes failed.
8:13 pm
we will be examining over the next six months what went wrong, but more important, how do we increase domestic oil production without having the kind of disasters we are witnessing day in and day out. the governor expressed concerns about the immediate economic impact. if they can front load some of the analysis of what went wrong and how you would solve what has happened and what can happen, and you can do that more quickly than six months, then let me know. don't hold the results of your review for six months and then tell me. tell me when you find out. what i told folks in this room was, i am not going to cut
8:14 pm
corners and not press them to move faster than it would take to do an accurate, independence job based on sound findings. i do not want to see this thing repeated again, and the american people do not. i promise you, the people of the gulf do not want to see it either. as difficult as it may be, it is important for us to do this right. if we do not do it right, we could end up sayinseeing an even worse impact on the region down here. i think everybody here, i did not hear anybody here say that they what unsafe operations on these regs, and they certainly do not want to see a repeat of this disaster. they did ask that we do it faster.
8:15 pm
what i said was, do it as fast as it takes to do it right. thank you, everybody. the folks in alabama and florida, i want them to abide by their obligations to the shareholders. >> following his remarks to the news media, the president toured parts of grand isle, louisiana. he met with the mayor and other residents to discuss the impact of the oil spill. >> the whole world is watching.
8:16 pm
everybody knows the mayor. he has gathered up a group of local business people. but, for example, owns a marina. terry owns a string of both. -- terry owns a shrimp boat. chris is the owner of this bait shop. we were just talking about the economic impact this is having. just to give you some perspective, terry has been shrimping out here for 46 years. his grandfather did it before him. right now, things are completely shut off. floyd it leases the oyster beds from the state. the state now has said you cannot be pulling a seafood and
8:17 pm
out of these waters right now. he has oil that is starting to cbn to the oyster -- starting to seep into the oyster beds. floyd is trying to figure out how long his business is going to last. >> i am fourth generation. some of the leases have been in the family for 100 years. >> butch is talking about the marina and making the point that these three or four months are basically when all his business comes down. normally all of his slips would be full right now. right now, only about one-third of them are full, and it could get worse from now. >> he makes a living off taking people fishing.
8:18 pm
>> pattie owns a convenience store. obviously, that store is dependent on these guys, folks coming in, filling up with gas, buying ice and soft drinks. she is down 85% on her business right now. so this is just a sampling of what is happening out here. part of what we talked about was what we can do to prevent oil from coming into these areas. part of what we talked about, in terms of the relief effort, we deployed folks here to help save their livelihood is right where they are. i will ask admiral allen to make sure he is looking at where people are being deployed, where vessels are being deployed, to make sure he people who know the waters best are being hired
8:19 pm
there. the final thing is, what we talked about in new orleans, or making sure that claims are being processed effectively? right now, after that initial $5,000 check that bp wrote, the claims center has been taking in claims, but it sounds, based on what i am hearing, that there is a lot of process, but not that much actual action. we are wrong to see if we can do something better on that. the main point i want to make is, these are communities that have had a way of life for generations. what people are concerned about right now is not just the damage done in the short term, because these are some tough folks. they have been through
8:20 pm
hurricanes, low prices, the high cost of fuel. a hurricane comes, you wash out the mud, and a week later, everyone is back in business. these folks are used to hardship and know how to deal with it. what they are concerned about right now is a lasting effect they cannot recover from. that is why the federal team is so committed to making sure that everything that can be done will be done. this is going to be bad, no matter what we do. but we can hopefully minimize the damage. it requires good coordination between the state, federal, and locals, and requires bp to make sure that folks are not getting nickel-and-dimed.
8:21 pm
and that we are doing what we need to do early to prevent the worseninworst case scenario from happening. >> the barges are available all along the coast from the then is to harvey canal, all the way back to houma. we can put some barges there temporarily to block these passes so we can save over neighboring b.g.e. save our neighboring parishes. in jefferson parish where we live, if we can block five passes right now, these fishermen can tell you that we can save the rest of the 2 million acres of oyster leases. we had $2 billion worth of seafood that comes out behind me write it in this estuary.
8:22 pm
-- right in this estuary. this woman here with the convenience store, if we lose estuaries in the back, we are history. they will tell you, our grandfathers, we were born and raised and make our living right here. we need to make sure we can block the oil until we put these booms. >> last week and i was talking to the mayor, he started choking up just talking about the fact that out of his own pocket, he was having to provide some help and some loans to fishermen and votes in the area.
8:23 pm
that is what we should be able to prevent. people can help each other. the company that is responsible, to make sure it is responding quickly and effectively. when the mayor told me that story, i think it waa an example of what is happening all across the gulf coast. it will be multiplied in alabama, mississippi, florida, in small communities like this all across the gulf. we have got to make sure that their voice is being heard day in and day out. i know they have a fierce advocate in thad allen, but i wanted you to know that behind him stands the president of the united states.
8:24 pm
>> the coast guard is unbelievable. you guys are working 24 hours a day. i am very emotional because i am still feeling exiit. i am not going to cut their water off or cut their electricity off. one of the companies has a $5200 electricity bill. pattie can tell you, like it -- not before last i told her, i am going to keep you strong. he is fighting to save his oysters. i am trying to keep grand isle alive. i open the beach sunday, memorial day.
8:25 pm
watching the oil, across the shore -- i live right down the street. i have been averaging two hours of sleep, just worrying about what is one to happen tomorrow, and praying to god that no more oil comes on the beach. terry's wife is sick. harboring seven cable a day for oxygen to new orleans. putting gas in the drug to make sure we can keep it up -- we help each other. if we do not have any money, it does not matter. we help each other. >> that is supposed to be what the entire united states does. >> exactly. >> we are not bitter at the oil companies for what is happening.
8:26 pm
>> we thrive on the oil companies down here. we support them. >> i think the point with the oil companies this, they have got to support you the same way you support them. they have to make sure, because there are a lot of folks in the oil business who did the right thing in who are not cutting corners. we just have to make sure refined out what happened and that those who are responsible are held responsible, that they fix whatever is wrong. production, but we have to maae sure that we do it in the right way, because we cannot have a situation like this. >> you have to follow the rules. just tell the truth. [unintelligible]
8:27 pm
just tell the people the truth. that is all we want. >> the biggest shrimp dock in america is right here. he is completely shut down. the boats are tied up. he has close to 100 votes, just tied up. the vietnamese families, you have the true cajun people here. they are just waiting on the opportunity. they are trying. since you left, they made a big change. we are just worried, we do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. that is why we depend on all you guys. >> on wednesday, a c-span crew
8:28 pm
traveled with democratic congressman charlie melancon from louisiana around his gulf coast district as he met with constituents and federal and local officials to discuss the response to the oil spill. coastguard admiral thad allen and epa administrator lee said jackson are among those with whom he met. >> right now we are having problems with the harvest coming up the mouth of the mississippi and coming through these passes. we are coming to the inner waters right here. they were having trouble deploying assets from the eastern side of the mississippi to the western side. it was too late a response in order to get all this done at that time. now, thankfully, they have deployed people along this area. the response is substantially better. they have some barges out in the area and has done substantially
8:29 pm
better create a number of manpower and assets deployed have got a significantly better over the last two or three weeks. >> what were the effects of it being slow in the first couple of weeks? >> we had sightings, and the response is way too slow. we see some harm coming into our paris one day, and it was the next day before they would even respond to look at it. they did not have the assets are people to actually do the response, and by that, right now, if we see one, they send skimmers and other teams in order to actually make certain that we are being protected. we have not lack for people that know how to close the hole, know how to disperse the oil, people who know how to save the march. trust me, we have not lacked for that.
8:30 pm
>> the problem we run into is the implementation. there are so many people, and it is a matter connecting the right people with the right resources. what congressman melancon says is exactly correct. >> are you pleased with the federal government's response now? >> what is going to hurt terrebone paris right now is up moratorium and the ban on drilling. please. terrebone has worked with the oil field and the seafood industry for years. a lot of people go from seafood to oilfield, oilfield to seafood. right now, the economic impact on the fishing industry is survivable. bp has been coming in and making claims. we believe that the response is
8:31 pm
getting to be better. we think at least they can capet, there may be some hope for the future for our fishing industry. our biggest problem right now is that they and where they have discontinued drilling -- is the ban are they have discontinued drilling. 500 feet is the minimum, and we had someone who was drilling in 1,000 feet of water. and they were told to cease and desist. the horizon was $500,000 a day. there is no way it is going to be sitting around for six months, and what is going to happen, they are going to go to other countries. once they are there, they are not going to move back at the end of six months. it will be a horrendous impact in our area.
8:32 pm
right now, easily, we are going to have many thousands of people that will be impacted. i would be willing to bet that at least 60% of my parish, and i have 120,000 people, are directly or indirectly affected by the oilfield. understand, that have oil filled people that work on the rigs, they have zero companies, catering companies, machine shops, a fabrication companies, all of this is going to come to a screeching halt. this is the critical thing. with bp over the spill, they have resources go to. on this moratorium, it is not compensable by anybody. this is a loss that we are going to have, and the oil-field drilling is without question
8:33 pm
such a significant problem that it will affect my community and my parish more at this time than the oil spill will. >> we just left houma and we are over here in terrebone parish. we are going south on highway 56 to the coastal marshlands. there are a couple of irina's and jump off points for oil and gas service industry companies. down here is louisiana university marine consortium
8:34 pm
facility that is right before you get to the end of the road down here. >> can you just point out areas that have been hardest hit? >> grand isle has been getting oil on the beach. right past grand isle they are+ getting oil on the beach. some oil is starting to show up on the barrier islands. of course we are getting some over in the mouth of the river. as the crow flies, you can see that is not very far. >> how many miles is that? >> i don't know the exact mileage. i would say probably 25 miles to the mouth of the river. that is a guess. >> when you hear about oil getting into the marshes, where is that happening?
8:35 pm
>> that is happening at the mouth of the river. they are getting some sheen into the inner marsh of to what they call merle grove, which is up here. -- myrtle grove. we are getting erosion of a lot of these wetlands and marshes. they are putting booms out in this interior march, trying to protect the estuaries where shrimp and fish lay their eggs and such as that. of course, over on the east side of the river into st. bernard and blackmon parrish. lake catherine is still open to fishing, but the oil is collecting on chandelier island. if it keeps going like that, it
8:36 pm
will keep going up in the north end and start getting into those lakes from the back side. you do not know where the tide is going to take this stuff. new orleans is right here on the north end of all of it. >> the administrator is on her way and should be here within the next 10 minutes, and admiral allen should be here as well. >> have you seen johnnie glover around this morning? >> mr. glover is actually here today with his wife. >> lead the way. >> how are you doing? further notice.
8:37 pm
[unintelligible] >> thanks for coming over. how are things going? >> very good. >> here is what i am interested in. over the last week and a half, we have made a number of significant changes, trying to be more responsive. >> i think we have a great relationship with the eoc right
8:38 pm
now. with a booming operations, [unintelligible] we are considering alternate billing strategies b.g.e. booming strategies. some islands may be switching to -- we get trucks and every day. >> [unintelligible] >> we are requesting some of the larger rooms. -- some of the larger booms.
8:39 pm
>> we are going to try to go down and do a tour of the staging area. >> we are just trying to get caught up. i have not been down to grand isle since last friday. charlotte was down there, and we are hearing their concerns about the dispersant. it looks like they have kind of got caught up and are moving quite well. >> there are a few places we cannot quite get to. >> how are they standing on the boom over there, did they say?
8:40 pm
>> there are plenty of the pieces that are working. >> that is some of the most effective use of the boom i have ever seen. >> is that the green stuff? >> it is all different colors. the oil just adheres to it and it is replaced by more. >> when you see that step as they pull it out, all you see is [unintelligible] >> it is basically pompoms tied
8:41 pm
to a row. -- tied to a rope. >> i went to get a haircut, but there was not enough there to give to anybody. >> i feel comfortable knowing that we have [unintelligible] that have been doing a lot more burning and skimming. they are using less than 15,000 gallons a day. everything there looks good. the toxicity tests it looked very good.
8:42 pm
[unintelligible] >> i could is a little bit of rest.
8:43 pm
>> it is all connected by a rope. the string in down the beach, and sometimes it becomes very are embedded, and that is ok. it has to go to a disposal site, and then you replace it. >> the state has been putting together a waste disposal plan. they'd take it all up and take it to a bunch of landfills. >> you have to have a degree disposal plan as well. it is considered hazardous waste.
8:44 pm
>> i only have room for a few people. if it is raining, we will run out of room. >> were you guys all from? it is good to see. -- fgcu. a does want to get an overview. >> these are the barrier
8:45 pm
islands. right now we have operations going all the way up here. then we have skimmers between the islands every day as well as on a set course for the bay. we are not also now working be -- we are also working with the local indian tribes to protect the burial grounds. >> one of the important things i saw yesterday's was all the pre assessment work that happens on the shoreline. we have a good picture of the above fobefore.
8:46 pm
>> it is a good way to clean up the beaches. very good. this connects over to the people of those parishes. how many people are on at night and all that kind of stuff? >> everyone is well on an 12 off. -- 12 on an 12 all. >> the night shift is out there but readjusting the vessels, putting the boom on. the first thing in the morning, all have to do is do their manifest and they are ready to go. it has picked up our response time as far as leaving the docks. >> i have been hitting all these places and what to make sure
8:47 pm
everybody understands. reducing the cycle time from when deciding is first made. it is moving people closer to the problem and giving people the authority down here to do what they need to do. do you think you have got it? >> we think we do. >> all right.
8:48 pm
>> if one of the parish officials telll me he is not happy wiih something, then i have an ask i need to make. what i have told charlotte, michelle, billy, what i stole -- right toasty, if you have something and you feel you are not getting a response, call me. i did call in and talk with rahm emanuel at the white house. now have had this meeting with thad allen and lisa jackson. i am trying to find a balance on the deepwater drilling. we have to make sure there is a conscious effort for safety.
8:49 pm
we cannot have this happen again, but at the same time, the economic impact down here in this region, and i think the state of louisiana was the economy. we were one of the bright spots in the economy. we had the lowest unemployment rate in the country for probably two years. with the fishermen now out of work, marinas and ice houses and trevor processors, it would not be for all the stuff going on here. i don't think johnnie is doing better than the rest of us because of his location. if you go to grand isle, that is like a ghost town. from memorial day on, that is usually when they make their money. you have the shrimpers, hotels, restaurants, grocery store is not making any money.
8:50 pm
and for the oil companies not to be able to drill, that is another issue. it is mostly just getting updated on where they are. the meeting that was the most important meat was sitting down with michelle. i need to know that he is feeling better. he is feeling better, i am feeling better. it is not a perfect world. we are not getting everything we would like, obviously. as i mentioned a minute ago, we are in a response mode. the oil has not come into this area. we are watching for it at the barrier islands and those areas. once we see it, then they deploy. right now they have deployed to where they need to or feel that they need to. we haae to continue making sure that the integrity of the boom is there, wherever it has been put up. it will be an ongoing process. as long as that thing is pumping oil, who knows how long it is going to go on?
8:51 pm
all we can do is keep our chin up. if you are out there working, laying boom, i do not have to tell you anything. i know you are doing it because your heart is in it, not because there is a check coming. this is about saving an area that we love. i grew up hunting and fishing down here. all my life i have fished out of teh mariia. johnny glover and i served in the state legislature together. one thing we do agree on is the saltwater marshes, the estuaries, preservation of the coastal wetlands and conservation for the fisheries. we do not differ one iota on any of that. >> now, president obama and vice
8:52 pm
president biden tore a commercial truck dealershii nd parts supplier in maryland. following the tour, the president talks about the monthly jobs numbers. the report released by the labor department shows that the economy added 431,000 jobs last month and the unemployment numbers were down 0.2%. this is about 15 minutes. [applause] >> good morning, everybody. please, everybody, have a seat. it is wonderful to be here, and i want to make a couple of quick acknowledgements. this guy behind me, you may know him. he is a vice president of the united states, joe biden. [applause] we have maryland's lieutenant
8:53 pm
governor, anthony brown, here. we have the mayor of hyattsville, william gardner. [applause] and of course we have to acknowledge the big man here, and he is big. the owner of k. neal international, stephen nickel. i want to thank k. neal for having us here today, giving us a quick tour and having us look at all these trucks. this is a business that has been selling commercial trucks for over 40 years. this company employs workers from all over the greater washington area. after two years of recession that caused so much pain in so
8:54 pm
many communities, this is also an example of a company that is starting to see business pick up again. stephen told me that rental and lease sales have improved, that there is a pent-up demand out there for new equipment, and you have added workers over the last few months. steven says that if things keep on going well, he will add more in the months ahead. we are hearing more and more stories like that all across america. a lot of businesses were hit hard during this downturn, but they are starting to hire again. workers who were laid off are starting to get their jobs back. companies that were almost forced to close their doors are making plans to expand and invest in new equipment. this progress is reflected in the monthly jobs report is that we get each month. we received one today. in may, the , added431,000 jobs
8:55 pm
-- in may, the country added 431,000 jobs. while recognize that our recovery is still in its early stages, and there will be ups and downs in the months ahead, things never go completely in a smooth line. this report is a sign that our economy is getting stronger by the day. i want to emphasize that most of the jobs this month that we are seeing in the statistics represent workers who have been hired to complete the 2010 census. these are temporary jobs that will only last until the fall, and that may be reflected in future jobs report, but even if you put those temporary jobs aside, there is no doubt that we saw another month the private sector job growth.
8:56 pm
that is obviously critical, because when businesses are hiring again, people start spending again. that in turn gives businesses more and more incentive to grow. this is not mean that the recession is over for the millions of americans who are still out of work or the millions more who are still struggling to make ends meet. no words, no statistics can take away the pain and anxiety that a family feels because of this downturn. that can only be relieved with a steady paycheck and the security that a steady job brings. what these numbers do mean is that we are moving in the right direction. the economic policies we put in place are working. an economy that was shrinking at a scary rate when i was sworn in as president has now been growing for three consecutive quarters. we were losing 750,000 jobs a month during the winter last
8:57 pm
year. we have now added jobs for six out of the last seven months. the taxpayer money it cost to shore up the financial sectors and the of automotive industry is being repaid. i know ii was unpopular, but it was the right thing to do, and both gm and chrysler are adding ships and operating at a profit, which nobody would have imagined just a year ago. the question now is, how do we keep this momentum going? how do we keep adding jobs, raising incomes, how do we keep growing not just our economy but growing are middle-class? in the short term, we have to keep creating the conditions for companies like k. neal to succeed, to keep growing and hiring. because of a bill i signed into law, businesses are now eligible for tax cuts for hiring
8:58 pm
unemployed workers. companies are able to write off more of their investments into equipment. as part of health reform, four million small businesses recently received a postcard in their mailbox telling them they will be eligible for health care tax cuts this year. those tax cuts can be worth tens of thousands of dollars to those companies. [applause] i have also urged congress to cut more taxes for small businesses so that they can get the incentives and credits that they need to create jobs and growth. i believe it is absolutely critical that we extend unemployment insurance for several more months, so that americans who have been laid off through no fault of their own get the support they need to provide for their families and they can maintain their health insurance until they are retired. and we should provide further support so that states are not cutting back on jobs and vital services. as well as incentives to create clean energy jobs. in the long run, all of that is
8:59 pm
in the short term, still part of the emergency effort to help the economy grow coming out of the recession. in the long run, we need to invest in the technologies and innovation that will lead to the jobs in the industries of tomorrow. i want to introduce to everybody who is here, we have dan, who is the president of navistar. dan, stand-up. [applause] navistar is a company that sometimes does business with k. neal international. for months, there indiana manufacturing plant has been working on an electric delivery truck that is filled entirely by plugging in power. facts, i visited the plants before it had reduced its very
9:00 pm
first truck. my understanding then is that we are ready to go. thanks to the investments we made in the recovery act, it just delivered its first truck a few weeks ago. this is a plant that gave jobs to unemployed factory workers, and they are now part of a cutting edge industry that will create even more jobs and businesses in the months and years ahead. that is what the future can look like. if we keep on making investments in research and development in technology and clean energy, products, and industries that we have not even imagined yet, can find a home run. the united states of america. if we provide our citizens with the education and training they need to do these jobs, we are going to see rising incomes and a growing middle class. . .
9:01 pm
[applause] it helped him keep folks on the the job that otherwise might have lost their jobs. joe biden deserves a lot of credit for that. by the way, he says that he used to be able to drive one of these trucks. [laughter] what we cannot do is go back, now that we are starting to find out how big the whole is that
9:02 pm
has been dug for us, we cannot go back to the same policies that failed us, that led us into that hole. think about it. we have already tried scaling back our investment in clean energy and education and innovation, so that we could give tax breaks to the wealthiest americans and the biggest corporations. that did not work. we already tried putting industry insiders in charge of oversight. it did not work. we already tried stripping away rules and regulations that kept wall street banks and oil companies in bounds. we let them play by their own rules instead. it did not work. we know where these ideas to lead us, and we are going to have a choice as a nation moving forward. we are going to be able to return to the failed economic policies of the past, policies that give us record deficits, declining income, and sluggish job growth even before the
9:03 pm
recession. policies that led to us almost going into a depression. we can take that road again, or we can decide we want to move forward. we can keep building a stronger economy. we can keep pursuing the policies that have started to create jobs again, policies that have helped companies like this, policies that invest in companies, policies that invvst in our people and in our future. so, i do not know about you. i do not want to go back. i want to move forward. and i believe that the american people want to move forward as well. [applause] now, this economy has not return to prosperity yet, but we are headed in the right direction. there are going to be some ups and downs. there are going to be some months or people start worrying that maybe we are not out f the whole yet. -- out of the hole yet.
9:04 pm
but if we remain determined, if we stick to it, if we stay the course of investing in the people who are the heart and soul of america, then i am absolutely positive that we can succeed. with your help and help -- with yourrhelp, and the hard work and continuity of of rainier's -- of entrepreneurs and workers like the ones at this company, we can do it. i m grateful to joe biden for all of his hard work. i am grateful to all of you. god bless you and god bless america. [applause] ♪
9:05 pm
>> next, in general ray odierno has the latest on that security in iraq. after that, attorney general eric colder talks about civil rights protections for arab- americans. tomorrow on "washington journal ," stevvn cook from the council on foreign relations speaks about the attack on the flotilla by gossip. -- by gaza. marcia wagner discusses how the economy is affecting for a one case -- 401k's and other
9:06 pm
benefits.. >> everyone has an agenda, and as long as you know their agenda, you can write about it. investigative reporter has written a series on the lawmakers of's overseas trips funded by tax makers. -- funded by taxpayers. >> now ray odierno priest the media on its security operations in iraq -- priest -- briefs the media on security operations in iraq. >> welcome. it is always my pleasure to welcome back to the briefing room to general ray odierno, the commander of u.s. forces in iraq. he has been there since september of 2009. excuse me, september of 2008.
9:07 pm
i am cutting off a year. i am sure you ask him about that too. how much longer he will be there. that. would like him to answer%- he is back in town and is gracious enough with his time to give you a brief update and answer some of your questions about the mission in iraq. general, thank you very much for joining us today. >> i have a fancy, a prepared statement today. i do want to just say a couple of things. i want to start out by talking about the fact that obviously, the election results were certified on the first, which to my mind, is an extremely important first step in the political process in iraq. it has taken a little longer than we all would have liked. but frankly, we have gone through the process the way the constitution dictates we go through it, and in my mind, it
9:08 pm
is going very positively. there was a recount in baghdad. the re-count was conducted cleanly. .01% was the difference in that the vote, which clearly labeled its it a legitimate election -- it a legitimate election. we are starting to move forward. only about 20% of the incumbents are coming back to the new parliament that will be seated in the next 10 days or so. that is 64 out of 325. there will be a lot of new members, a lot of new parties, a new party is being developed, and new people will be involved in the government of iraq. we think that is very important moving forward. in terms of security, security continues to move forward at a very good pace.
9:09 pm
i judges to carry on a couple of things. i looked at a number of incident, casualty's to civilians, high-profile attacks. all of those statistics for the first five months of 2010 are the lowest we have had on record. there have been some losses and some bad days in iraq, statistics continue to go in the right direction. what is especially important to us now is that the iraqi security forces have continued to take more and more responsibility, and in fact, are in the lead across the country in iraq for security. they have been now for the last couple of months. in addition to that, over the last 90 days or so, we have picked up or killed 34 out of the top 42 al-qaeda in iraq leaders. they are clearly now working to reorganize themselves. there are struggling.
9:10 pm
they are broken. they have lost connections in afghanistan. they will attempt to regenerate themselves. they are finding it more difficult. these operations going after the top al-qaeda in iraq leaders have been a truly partnered effort between the u.s. security forces and the iraqi security forces. they have continued to develop the ability to collect intelligence and then action that intelligence. they're getting better at that every day. the other important point that i would like to talk about, that i was very impressed with, has been the iraqi military leaders during this time of vulnerability, as we are getting ready to see to the government. the iraqi security forces have performed extremely well. the leaders have remained neutral. they have shown professionalism in enforcing the constitution,
9:11 pm
not showing favoritism toward certain parties. they have continued to execute their operations across the country. i think it has proven a lot to us that they are getting more and more ready to take over full control of the security. today in iraq, we are at 8000 troops in on the ground -- we are at 88,000 troops on the ground. we are on track to be at 60,000 in september. we have removed 18,000 rolling stock vehicles out of the country. we have over 600,000, what we call, container items out of the country. we started about a year ago with 500 basis. today we have 124 basis, excuse
9:12 pm
me, 126 bases inside iraq. we will be at 94 by the first of september. we are ahead of schedule. most of the bases that remain are ready to turn over. it is now between us and the government of iraq. on many of thhse, they will take over the bases. we remain ahead of schedule. the next three to four months or so are very important to the government of iraq as they form -- as they go through the formation process. we all believe this will set the tone for the next few years. we were encouraged by the talk that they all agreed that they need to have a government that has full participation of all political parties, participating in elections. they are talking about establishing institutional control as they ook at forming the government. i think all of those things are
9:13 pm
extremely positive signs as we move forward. there will still be bad days in iraq. there is still violent elements that operate inside iraq. their violence is less than it was before, but it is still violence. we will continue to work with the iraqi security forces to continue to improve their capacity and capability to deal with the violence, and to continue to increase stability inside of iraq, and to continue to increase their capabilities going forward. those are the main point i wanted to talk about. i look forward to your questions. >> it sounds like you are going to be withdrawing about 12,500 troops every month for the next three months. do you have any capability to increase or reduce that if you need to? >> i do. the bottom line is, we are actually doing different numbers in different months.
9:14 pm
we will do a little bit more in august than we do in the aegean. we have done several different exercises to -- than we do in in june. we have done several different exercises to walk through this. we have made sure not to overstressed the system in a way that would cause some problems getting out. we have what our way through all of that. -- we have walked our way through all of that. >> where you stand on meeting iraq pose a request for f-16 requestsets -- iraq's for f-16 fighter jets? >> an assessment was given to the government of iraq. it talked about a need to develop some sort of air capability as we moved forward.
9:15 pm
they submitted to us a letter saying that they are interested in and want to purchase at- sixteens. that is now in our -- want to 16's.ase at16f- that is now in our system to look at. >> are you saying that if this is going to take years at the u.s. will not be able to meet that request? >> the air force has the capability to continue to build non- bair aircraft. the fire aircraft will come sometime after 2011. >> will they be new or refurbished? >> we are still working our way through that, but they will
9:16 pm
probably be refurbished. there are many gates that have to be gone through before we make a finaa decision. >> the 50,000 number, does that include troops who will be in the process of redeploying? >> my goal is that by the first of september e will be at 50,000 inside iraq. could there be a few over because they are getting out? maybe. but my goal is to be at 50,000 by september 1st. >> to that point, you said the next three months are absolutely critical for the government of iraq. at the same time, you have to pull out 40,000 troops over the next three months. you are meeting with obama this will you reassessed that deadline at all? >> what i said was pepper -- what i said was that the
9:17 pm
governmental transition process was going to be essential over the next three or four months. i believe the security situation will be sustained. we continue to see improvement in the iraqi security forces. i believe the 50,000 u.s. troops on the ground, along with 250,000 iraqi army and 500,000 iraqi police will be able to provide the security necessary for them to form a government. what is different today than one year ago is that the iraqis have taken over the lead. what we are doing now is training, advising and assisting. we continue to support the reconstruction teams in several capacities. that is what we do tooay and that is what we will do on the first of september. we are there. i think it is the right time to go to 50,000. i believe, it is my assessment,
9:18 pm
that they can provide the governmental formation to be completed. >> is there a danger in doing it so quickly. if you can pull out 50,000 in four weeks, is that the way you want to do it? do not want to take a longer time? >> again, i have been looking at this for a very long time. we have done an awful lot of work. i feel very comfortable with what we are doing. i would argue that we might want tootake out a few more in april and may. but because the elections were not certified, we decided to push a few more to the right. i feel very comfortable with what we are doing. >> how many contractors and does
9:19 pm
the u.s. and still maintain in iraq? >> we're down to 85,000 or 90,000 contractors. by september 1st we will be down to 60,000 or 65,000 contractors. we will then go down further as we continue to reduce our size. it will probably be behind us by about one or two months. a lot of the contractors are returning to iraqis part of those contracts. they're helping us to do some of the things we have to do in order to sustain ourselves. the 50,000 number is a lot of what we call trainers and advisers. it is heavy on the trainers and advisers. it is a little bit later on combat servicemen. we need contractors to continue to help us. if that number comes down, the
9:20 pm
contractor number will come down as well. >> what is your assessment of the resiliency of al qaeda in iraq right now? are they a future threat? what would you say to the new commander general of the security risks are looking ahead? >> obviously, they will attempt to reconstitute. the issue is that they have lost a lot of top leadership very quickly. they're going to have to develop some new leadership. we are not sure if there are people behind the names they have named. they have named very common names in the arabic world. we're not sure there are actually people behind those names. we do believe they will attempt to reconstitute. we believe it will take them a while, if they are able to. we continue to put pressure on the iraqi security forces to make it more difficult for them to come back.
9:21 pm
i think as time moves on, most of the security issues will come from what starts out of the political realm. that is why it is important to have unity to begin with. we do not want any group to feel it has been disenfranchised and move back to end -- move back to an insurgency. we do not want to see shia extremists come back because they do not feel they are part of the government. that is why the politicians want to ensure that everyone is involved moving forward. those are the threats that i would say that we have. i would never take my eyes off of al-qaeda. we will always watch them. we are helping to build the capacity in iraqi special operations forces that when we leave in 2011, they will have the capability to continue to go after the extremist element
9:22 pm
inside iraq. we're working very hard on that moving forward. >> are you keeping your qrs somewhere handy? >> it depends on the timing. i would say, 50,000 soldiers, i feel pretty comfortable that that is enough for me to do. again, i cannot stress enough how much the iraqi security forces have improved, how much better they are, how much more they do. that is what is different between now and 2006, 2007, 2008, the continued development. >> but there will not be u.s. combat troops after the first of september? >> the bottom line is, our mission is to train and advise. i need to train and advise iraqi combat troops, i need combat troops to train and advise.
9:23 pm
so, they will be in that role. if there is a terrorism operation, there will be combat capability. >> you have talked repeatedly about how comfortable you are with 50,000. do you think it should be lower than 50,000 at that time? >> because of the formation of the government, because of us moving through the certification of the elections, i believe that the structure we have developed of and 50,000 allows me to cover and train and mobilized in key areas of iraq. it gives me theecapability to continue to keep in contact and work with the iraqi security forces. to go lower than that, we would
9:24 pm
have to break contact summer, and i am not ready to do that. that is a decision probably for the beginning of next year. the other thing is, as we reduce from 50,000 and turn it over to civilian control, the state department has to regulate it. we have to do it in sync not only with the security forces but as we turn over more and more responsibilities to the state department. they will be ready to do that in the middle of 2011, towards the end of 2011. >> you are approaching what i think is safe to assume is your last command in iraq. as you look back on your tenure, can you talk about what has gone easier or better than you thought, and also what you are leaving with that you are
9:25 pm
disappointed in not having gone to? >> first, the implementation of the security that started in january 2009, i think that has gone extremely well. it has gone better than i think anybody expected. the cooperation that we have had with the iraqi government, with the leaders, both civilian and military leaders, has gone very, very weel. i am very confident that we have maintained a strong partnership that has enabled us to continue to go after the threat, but turned over more and more responsibility. i think that job has gone very well. in terms of things that, over the last couple of years, i would just saying -- i would just say, we could have done a little bit better, it is always about infrastructure. i think that the iraqi people and economic development of infrastructure, we haveenot done
9:26 pm
not quite as fast as i would have liked to have seen it. now, the iraqi government obviously has a large in our helping them do that, i think it continues to be really important. the state department and the u.s. embassy need to continue to move forward with this. the other thing is, we still do not truly have complete reconciliation in iraq. they are closer today than they were before, but we still have some issues that have to be worked through from the reconciliation standpoint. it is the ethnic-sectarian issues up in the disputed areas. it is still some issues with the old army. we're still working our way through that. it is not done yet.
9:27 pm
but we're headed in the right direction. is just not where we would like to be. >> what are your plans? when will the transition happen out of iraq, and when you get there, what lessons will you bring from iraq that you think are important to transform the broader force through that role? along with that, what are you telling your colleague in general the crystal about what you find it to be theekeys in -- general mccchrystal about what you find it to be the keys in iraq that perhaps could apply in afghanistan? >> first of all, my time frame will be determined by the secretary of defense. we will figure that out some time here in the next few weeks. i expect it will be sometime in
9:28 pm
the next three, four, five mentor so. -- months or so. as i look into going into a joint command, i have not thought a lot about it to be honest, because i am very focused on iraq. there are an awful lot of lessons. we have learned the importance of understanding your environment, and how do we get the whole government approach in executing our missions. there is a lot more we can do that is not military. how do we get that integrated? what we have learned about intelligence collection, "we have learned about conventional special operations -- a what we have learned about conventional special operations forces working together, it is about looking ahead on how we get the maximum use out of our armed forces, and how we continue to
9:29 pm
maximize each other's capabilities. i think there is still some work to be done in that. how do we manage the force in order to meet all of these needs that we have in the future? those are things i will think about. general mcchrystal and i are very close friends. we have worked together for a long time. i have nothing but respect for him. on afghanistan, on issues, when asked, i think they understand what was done in iraq. thought i think they understand what they can do. as you alluded to, it is not an easy -- because the environment in iraq is very different from the environment in afghanistan. the economic environment is just so much different. but there are some basic lessons that i think they have taken over, you know, protecting the
9:30 pm
population, holding ground once you get it, having afghan forces be part of everything they do like what we started with iraqi security forces. i think they have started working with that. i am not an f -- i am not an expert on afghanistan. i have spent most of my time in iraq. i have the utmost confidence that the team over there will make this work. they now have the resources they asked for in the beginning. they will make it work. >> what evidence do you have and that -- what evidence do you have that al-qaeda in iraq will
9:31 pm
maintain its motivation to reestablish its power? >> they want complete failure of the government in iraq. they want failed pooicy in iraq. that looks less likely for them and then it it it did in 2005 or 2006, but they still -- that looks less likely for them than it did in 2005 or 2006. what they want to have is a piece of uncovered territory inside iraq so that they can take it. that is what they will continue to look for. i believe that they will have a very difficult time in iraq, but they will certainly continue to try for power. >> is there now or will there be an iraqi lead a mission, and what do you see as the u.s. role in that, going forward?
9:32 pm
>> it is today an iraqi-led mission. everything we do in iraq today is approved by the government of iraq. we do know independent operations in iraq. no have not -- we do m independent operations in iraq. we have not for a long time. we are helping them to develop between now and the end of 2011 a way to go after networks, understanding and network, targeting a network, and having a way to go after them. they are very good at establishing human intelligence. what we are helping them to do is use some of the technical intelligence available to them and use that to go after this
9:33 pm
and network. the government will go to a process of developing targets and target approval. execution is not the issue. it is really about target development and approval. that is what we are with -- that is what we are working with them on over time. they're getting better, and i feel confident we will be able to transition this in the next 16 months or so. >> you said you captured 34 of the top 42 al-qaeda leaders in the last 90 days. that is pretty dramatic. did something happen? >> we have been nibbling away at this for a very long time. back in december, january, february time frame, we found out where their headquarters was. we picked up several of their leaders that did financing,
9:34 pm
planning, recruiting, did some of their lawyers. we were able to get inside of this network and pick a lot of them up. over time, through hard work, we were able to get inside the organization. we have not stopped. we will continue with our iraqi security force partners to go after them. there are still some very dangerous people out there. there are some low-level leaders of that we do not want to develop into senior leadership, and that is what we are working towards now. >> you said early on that al- qaeda is attempting to reorganize itself even still. how is that manifesting? are you seeing any influence
9:35 pm
from iran? >> al-qaeda, what they are attempting to do now is, they just have to keep attention on themselves inside of iraq. you will see a lot of announcements made about things that they did or maybe did not do, but they want to announce any house of the people will think they are still legitimate. i think they will try to go after softer targets just to make news. that has no impact except for killing innocent civilians. we're working very hard to ensure that does not happen. i think they are struggling now. i think it could be difficult for them to continue to recruit. we have had reports over the last six to eight month that they have had trouble recruiting. the iraqi people reject the ideology of al-qaeda, the large majority, about 99.9% have
9:36 pm
rejected it. we want to make a very difficult for them to continue. but they will continue. it is their life style. there is also some money and power involved with it. although some might be ideologues, there are many who are opportunists. in terms of iran, they continue to be very much involved in side by iraq. we understand that they are and neighbor, and we want them to have a positive influence on i iraq, not one that we believe to be a negative. we know that their goals are that they do not want to see the u.s. have a long-term relationship with i iraq. they do not want to see that, so they will continue to fund a surrogate and others who will
9:37 pm
iraqi security forces. just yesterday, there was a rocket attack were they killed three iraqi security forces. they are not attacking u.s. forces. they continue to infiltrate some of their security architecture into iraq. i iraqis are stepping up to work at the borders. they continue to try to infiltrate so that they can continue to try to influence outcomes in iraq. we are for iraq moving forward. behind the scenes, if they continue to interfere, in my mind, both from a political, military, and economic perspective. >> can you quantify the iranian
9:38 pm
involvement? is it more or less and then it was say, a year ago? >> it is different. i think, as everyone does, they continue to change their strategy. from to belsen 7 and 2008, they have clearly moved -- from 2007 to $2.80, they have clearly moved away from a heavy -- to 2008 they have clearly moved away from a heavy legal strategy. they have tried to gain monopolies on at some areas and have a security and collection influence in iraq. they are still there. there are still rockets that have been made in iran that are being launched in iraq.
9:39 pm
they are still training the sarah gets the come out of iraq. -- the sarah gets -- surrogates that come out of iraq. >> year withdrawal will involve -- your withdrawl involves reducing assets. how are you going to be able to hold on to the assets that you need? >> we have a very good process where every month we review our needs in afghanistan, iraq, and throughout central command. we determine where assets are needed.
9:40 pm
i have a lot of influence in that process. i have a lot of confidence in how that process is working. we will have enough helicopters in iraq. we had 175,000, we're now down to 88,000, and we will get down to 50,000. we have ground cleaaance teams. we have to continue to work that. but i feel confident that the system we have -- the good part is, we continue to bring more and more isr into the force. that has made it easier for us as we work our way thrrugh this. i am not saying -- i could argue that i could probably use a little bit more than i have today, but i feel the risk has been negated.
9:41 pm
>> there is an e-mail scam going out purportedly from the command sergeant major, but some people may actually take it seriously. have you put out any guidance telling people not to trusttthis e-mail? >> yes, and people have been skimming money using my name as well. i have seven had several people use my face on the facebook -- i have had several people use my face on facebook to try to get money. we are going after these scam artists. we are very aware of all of the things going on. we are very aware of the capability and the attempt to take money. on my facebook page it's as if
9:42 pm
anybody asks you for money in my name, do not believe it. it is a problem. since you brought that subject up, i will just say, one of the things that we have to really continue to work on hard is the change that has occurred in terms of global communications and access to global communications. it impacts symmetric warfare and counterinsurgency. we just put up a cyber-command which i fully support. i think it is extremely important. it is absolutely essential that we start taking a hard look at how we are going to deal with these very difficult issues. we have to figure out how to deal with this issue and still sustain the rights that we want of a freedom of expression and information.
9:43 pm
these are very tough issues, but we have to continue to work for them. what i've found, and was frustrated me sometimes inside of iraq, is that we are doing things on at the ground, but if you look on the website, what they are telling their people is completely different than what is happening. they have at video footage that is year-old and they continue replaying it and replaying it then replaying it. they say they are being successful and they need you to contribute money to the al-qaeda organization. these are all the kind of things that go on. those are real challenges for us that we will have to address, as well as abscam's and other things that go on. >> -- as well as scams and other things that go on. >> do you anticipate having
9:44 pm
reinforcements? >> we have reinforcements now that are helping to train iraqi navy forces as well as iraqi police forces? >> thank you, general odierno for doing this. [captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2010] >> next, attorney general eric holder talks about civil rights protections for arab americans. that will be followed by the
9:45 pm
u.s. ambassador to libya. after that, president barack obama visits the gulf coast and discusses the latest on the oil spill. >> this weekend on "in depth," noted feminist author and legal scholar from the university of chicago who has written or contributed to more than 20 books on a liberal education, at fixed, sexism, and legal justice. join us sunday at noon eastern on c-span t2. >> the new british prime minister and party leader david cameron diaz questions from the british parliament's sunday night on c-span. >> now, attorney general eric holder speaks at the anti- discrimination committee's annual meeting in washington, d.c. he discusses in the justice
9:46 pm
department's commitment to prosecuting hate crimes. this is about 20 minutes. [applause] >> it is my pleasure to did -- to introduce to you someone who has dedicated a decade to civil rights, attorney-general -- [unintelligible] >> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. thank you for coming here from coast to coast to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary. we have to do something special for this. with us today is a person who is very special to our hearts and
9:47 pm
to our country. i do not want to introduce him by reading his bio. everybody knows who he is. i am going to tell you something which is a bio that i know about him. [laughter] of course, i have known him for so many years, i have been honored to know him for so many years. mr. holder has proven to be a man of extraordinary intelligence, integrity, commitment, and an eternal friend of the truth. ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you at eric holder, attorney general of the united states of america. [applause]
9:48 pm
>> thank you. i was just telling him, i have known him for a good number of yearr. in fact, i think i knew him before i was married. i was wondering where he was going to go with that. i am happily married now. but thank you for those very kind words, a doctor, and for this tremendous honor. i am grateful to you and for the board and staff members for this wonderful opportunity to speak with you, and i appreciate the opportunity, at the start of this miles down convention, to share some thoughts with you about the justice department post a commitment to promoting safety, peace and opportunity. i especially want to thank your extraordinary president for her leadership. we also thank and congratulate
9:49 pm
the other awardees here this afternoon for their achievements in the cause of justice. above all, and want to congratulate you for your 30th anniversary. i think that deserves a round of applause. [applause] i do not know exactly what you get for its 30th anniversary. i just passed my 20th. you deserve what ever the wonderful prize is. the reality is that for decades you have advanced the promise of civil rights for all americans. you have educated citizens of all nationalities, backgrounds and faiths, and you have promoted the basic principles of
9:50 pm
dignity that defined this country and bring out the best in all of our communities. it is a special honor to be a part of this anniversary, and to continue one of our nation pose a most important conversations, mostcrucial, -- nation's important conversations, the crucial dialogue with arab- american communities. this is a top priority for my department of justice and for the obama administration as well. i would be happy to speak to you any day of the year, but i am especially pleased to be scheduled today, june 4th. exactly one year ago in cairo egypt, president barack obama addressed the arab and muslim world in a landmark speech that in heartfelt terms captured the importance of our discussion today. he said scott -- he said,
9:51 pm
"america holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share a common aspiration to live in peace and security, to get an education and work with dignity, to love our families, our communities, and our god. so long as our relationship is defined by our differences, we will empower those who sow hatred rather than peace, and in gender conflict rather than cooperation. this is a cycle of suspicion and discord must end." president barack obama may have been addressing another region of the world, but his words are as much as a guide for american 's diverse communities today as they were for communities around the globe last year. the special relationships between arabs and americans and
9:52 pm
non-arab americans should not be defined by differences. as everyone here knows, we cannot and we will not allow that to happen. [applause] since becoming attorney general last february, i have heard from arab americans to say that they feel uneasy about their relationship with the united states government. i have spoken with arab- americans who feel they have not been afforded the fault rights or responsibilities of their -- the full rights or responsibilities of their citizenship. they feel that it is us versus them. i have had a very frank conversations. that is intolerable, and it is inconsistent with what america is about. in this nation, our many faiths,
9:53 pm
origins and appearances must bind us together, not break us apart. in this nation, at the document that sets forth a lot of our land, the constitution, is meant to empower, not to exclude. in this nation, security and liberty are partners, not enemies, in ensuring safety and opportunity for all. [applause] the communities that we serve it must -- the communities that we serve must see that the federal government is committed to the impartial implementation of our government's clause. they must know that we will do all we can to enforce our civil rights laws with the same vigor that we used to enforce public safety. these are not mutually exclusive goals. the justice department will do both. under our leadership, that is
9:54 pm
the commitmenn of the justice department and of every united states attorney throughout this nation. that is also my personal pledge to each and every one of you. what exactly have we done to ensure the equal enforcement of our nation's laws? first, we have restored the civil rights division to its rightful place as our country's preeminent civil rights agency. [applause] i understand that tom press is here with us and sunday -- here with us -- either understand that tom perez is here today? he has made it a priority to tackle the civil rights challenges of the 21st century.
9:55 pm
desires to make substantial and meaningful progress towaad providinggequal opportunity to all americans. it is not enough to say that the division will simply mean more active. the real question is, to what end will it dedicate its resources and its energy? as long as in attorney general, that answer is pretty simple. we will dedicate our resources and energy to enforcing the law neutrally, fairly, into working to provide all americans with an equal opportunity to pursue their dreams. that is was civil rights are all about. one of the division's many calls it -- many goals is ensuring that housing, educational opportunity, and other rights are dealt with. one issue that i know is particularly of interest to you
9:56 pm
is combating hate crimes. the prosecution of hate crimes is a top priority. we are employing new tools that have been afforded to us by the matthew shepard hate crimes prevention act of 2008 to address and eliminate hate- filled crimes around the nation. we are working with attorneys and law enforcement officers in its aggressive enforcement.. i want you all to know that we are currently working with local law enforcement to investigate the recent attacks on a florida moscow. this case -- on a florida mosque. this case is a top concern to the fbi. [applause] that is not all we are doing. we are committed to religious freedom, a foundation of our democracy. state of oregon to repeal a
9:57 pm
longstanding law, passed 100 years ago, that bars catholic nuns from teaching at public schools. the law effectively forced these women to choose between their careers and their faith. they could not wear religious part in the classroom. following a letter from our civil rights division, the governor acted to repeal the law in april. [applause] the bottom line is depth -- the bottom line is that the justice department post a commitment to civil rights has never been stronger. - justice department's commitment to civil rights has never been stronger. we are working to bring together community leaders with various
9:58 pm
federal agencies. the department has engaged in a critical effort to end racial profiling in the united states once and for all. [applause] as many of you know, the guidancet's current about the use of a race by federal law-enforcement agencies was issued in 2003. it has been the subject of some criticism. i am committed to ensuring this. department policy allows us to perform our responsibilities with legitimacy, accountability and transparency. i initiated an internal review to evaluate that 2003 guidance coming into recommend any changes that may be warranted. today i want to be clear about something. i want to be very clear about something. racial profiling is wrong.
9:59 pm
[applause] it can leave a lasting scar on communities and individuals, and it is, quite simply, bad policing, whatever city, whatever state. years ago as a college student, i was driving from new york city to washington, d.c. an officer stopped me on the highway. he said he wanted to search my car for weapons. opened the trunk of that car. i had done nothing wrong. i had not done anything that might have aroused suspicion. in the years since that day, i can still remember how humiliated and how angry i felt as i opened the trunk of my car. my story is not unique. nor does it represent a worst- case scenario. we have all seen heart wrenching stories of misguided racial profiling in the past few months alone. but we must always remember that
10:00 pm
virtually all of our nation's law enforcement officers serve their communities honorably, and risk their personal safety every day. their work includes all of our lives, and the justice department will not stand idly by as the discrimination by a few and fairly tarnishes the outstanding work being done by so many. nor will we stand idly by as isolated law-enforcement departments engaged in discriminatory policing of any kind. our nation is better than that. [applause] third, and finally, in addition to prosecution, we have made a commitment expect keeping lines of communication open and by engaging the community that we serve. in addition to the civil rights efforts, many other justice department components have
10:01 pm
launched promising initiatives. the fbi often hold conference calls with local community leaders and each district office employs a community outreach specialist to engage through town hall meetings, public speaking, youth initiatives and psittacine academies. likewise, the fbi specializes in community outreach and is working to strengthen engagement between the fbi field offices and communities of every ethnic background. j and components of do now reaches to the arab-american community. the response to tension and conflict related to allegations of discriminatory treatment based by arab, muslim and sikh communities across the country. there have been events sponsored that emphasize community engagement.
10:02 pm
u.s. attorneys across the nation are actively engaging arab and muslim communities to confront the challenges of the 21st century together. this is only a snapshot of our efforts and we are working constantly to improve them and to build stronger relationships with the community that we serve. our efforts are currently being reviewed and coordinated by the arab-muslim group which i established last year. i launched that advisory group with the goal of protecting our common security while preserving the values that we all share. the same values and patriotism that died adc's work also -- adc's work. let us not forget that it was a muslim man who first alerted police to a smoking car in times square. the visuals of -- the heroics of
10:03 pm
batman doubtless saved many lives. he did his part to avert tragedy just as millions of the other party millions of other arab americans are doing and bradley for filling their responsibilities of citizenship. the contributions of arab americans have helped us build this nation into what it is today. the have served as police officers, teachers, and civic leaders, strengthening their local community and country. we must remember this, we must also remember the wisdom of the engraving on a statute that sits next to the department of justice and in front of the national archives. it reads what is past is prologue. our past reminds us that we are a nation of immigrants. our past reminds us that when we band together across the traditional tree -- divisions of identity and background, we can promote safer communities. our past reminds us that if we
10:04 pm
aspire togeeher, then we must start working together. we have no other choice. the era of us versus them that some of you have experienced must and. at long last, i believe that it is ending. together, we can make sure that it is replaced by a new era, and everett that recognizes the truth reflected in this organization's name, that regardless of our faith, regardless of our background, we are all americans. i am grateful for this -- to this committee and to all of you for your three decades of work, your advocacy and above all, your partnership in helping bring us to this point in our history. i am looking forward to our continued collaboration and support of a more perfect union and a more peaceful existence for all americans. [applause]
10:05 pm
very much. [applause] >> if everybody from the table will come up. we appreciate the attorney general. throughout -- on behalf of the arab committees that the united states, it is my deep privilege to present the attorney general with the special award from us for his outstanding leadership,
10:06 pm
for his dedication and commitment to civil human rights and justice and the rule of law. we are very proud of you and we thank you so much for being with us. [laughter] [applause] court next, remarks by the u.s. ambassador to libya. after that, president obama visits the gulf coast and discusses the latest on the oil spill.
10:07 pm
then, c-span cameras follow a louisiana congressman as he toured his district to gauge the impact of the oil spill. >> new british prime minister david cameron fields questions from members of parliament and his first prime minister's questions as the head of the coalition government. sunday night at 9:00 on c-span. >> we have three new c-span books for you. "abraham lincoln,"space "the supreme court." and "who is buried in grant's tomb?" each is a great gift idea for father's day. chris u.s. ambassador to libya
10:08 pm
discusses relations with libya. pit talk about counter- terrorism, trade and nuclear non-proliferation. the event was held at the carnegie institute for international peace. the ambassador has served in many countries. for the hot spots. he has been to pakistan, syria, tel aviv, where he was in charge of other things including the cause of portfolio. he is now in libya. it is probably not a hot spot in the same way but i think he can
10:09 pm
still considered to be a challenging post given the relationship between libya and the united states. ambassador cretz is going to give some remarks and we will open it up to the floor. >> thank you. thank you for this opportunity. it is an honor for me to be here speaking at the carnegie endowment for international peace. the united states and libya have just embarked on a second year of exchange of embassadors. the previous speeches i have made and will continue to make state the case that continued engagement with libya is in our long-term national interest. while i recognize that this will not be an easy task, i am fully committed to seeing that we at the u.s. embassy in tripoli exert as much effort is required
10:10 pm
as it require -- as it requires to ensure the relationship stays on a positive path. no doubt, there are many differences that have at times threatened to derail our political relationship. last august, the hero's welcome of a convicted bomber in libya was an event that a directly impacted bilateral relations. since that time, we have experienced other difficult moment but have been able to work together with the libyans to pull through and to keep the relationship on a relatively stable footing. over the last year, we have made considerable progress in establishing the basic framework of our new bilateral relationship. off the challenge now is to continue fleshing out of this framework and to institution -- and test -- institutionalize it so we can advance our shared objectives and ensure we can keep regular channels of communication open at all time.
10:11 pm
we have core equities at stake in libya and the areas of nonproliferation, counter- terrorism, military, economic, and we consider libya a strategic ally in the region. libya continues to serve as a model for global nuclear non- proliferation efforts. and of being -- and working with them to just -- we are jointly advancing the principles of weapons of mass destruction and nuclear-free world has advocated by the president during the recent nuclear nonproliferation treaty in new york. the libyan leader has shared these calls for a nuclear-free world and the speeches. as part of our non-proliferation efforts, we are working with libyan scientists to complete the dismantling of weapons of mass destruction program and also to convert former weapons of mass destruction facilities and to peaceful uses such as articles -- pharmaceutical
10:12 pm
factories and nuclear medical centers. this work is at the core of the embassy's efforts to overthrow prrsident obama's call for increased engagement and science and technology in the muslim world. in april, we were privileged to help a scientist, the former director of the national institutes of health. his visit was focused on building bridges with the scientific, medical and academic communities to help identify opportunities for sustained cooperation with american institutions. his successful trip and the honest discussions that took place represent a significant step -- a significant step forward in our bilateral relationship. the relationship has rapidly expanded to include much more cooperation and nonproliferation. today, libya remains a strong ally in counter-terrorism and a volatile region. it has fought the expansion of all tied at, has condemned
10:13 pm
kidnappings and has taken a position against the paying a ransom to kidnappers. they have also taken a lead in developing new approaches to counter-terrorism undertaking serious rehabilitation efforts with libyan and islamic fighting group members and other former extremists. this initiative has are deeply influenced the fighting group decision to break ties with the outside the. -- with al qaeda. they may serve as a model to apply to other extremist groups across the globe. our counter-terrorism cooperation with libya provides new venues for public security training and reform. the initiatives that could come up over time, helped drive many -- help address many of our civil rights concerns. they have assisted an anti- terrorism programs and has
10:14 pm
requested help to include the training of prison guards, judges, and many specific areas including respect for the human rights of detainees. we have also made strides on military cooperation. and first by signing a memorandum of understanding with libya on future defense cooperation and by finalizing an end user agreement that sets the stage for a new petition ship. we plan to launch of bilateral dialogue that will form the basis for our security engagement in years to come. over the next year, were planned to initiate international training programs including language -- english -- english training programs. we also increase the number of bilateral changes and introduced libyans to military conduct an increase the products for long- term interrupt ability which is a key aspect of our regional keat -- peacekeeping goals.
10:15 pm
if these programs will further prooessionalize the military that will be respectful of civilian control over the armed forces and mindful of human rights. we also stand ready to help them upgrade their nonlethal military capabilities, and essential components to peacekeeping capacities. on the commerccal front, libya is a country that is just opening up to international investment, technological investment in infrastructure development. there have also begun privatisation efforts that will provide additional opportunities to do business in libya. since 2001, libya has launched a number of economic reform initiatives. this is part of a campaign to launch a approached to diversify the economy and on oil and gas sectors. it is important to note what a massive undertaking this has been. libya has been attempting to make up for 40 years of systematic stagnation and
10:16 pm
reconstituting its bureaucratic and economic capabilities. we have an opportunity to support libyan economic reform efforts while promoting u.s. business interests. we are working with the government on new anti-terrorism programs that will boost our economic and security interests. we are working to support president obama's new export initiative by energetically promoting u.s. business interests in libya. libya is an emerging market the plans to invest hundreds of billions of dollars in housing and infrastructure, health, education, and commercial projects over the next five years. libyans want american products including food, stars -- cars, motorcycles, household appliances and medical supplies. we have prioritized our efforts to see u.s. companies interested in doing business in part this businesses already on the ground to enssre a level playing field
10:17 pm
for u.s. exporters in the market. we have seen significant progress in our bilateral and commercial relationship over the past few months. in february, the embassy hosted the first u.s. trade mission to libya and nearly 40 years, an impressive gathering of 25 top u.s. companies that was led by senior officials. the delegation met officials and all sectors of the economy and participated in more than 150 meetings with businesses. the enthusiasm shown by government and business representatives and their calls for more trade missions demonstrate their keen interest in expanded commercial talks. we took another significant step forward just last week when the office of the united states trade representatives and the libyan people's committee on commerce and trade signed a trade and investmeet framework agreement. it provides a forum to address a
10:18 pm
wide range of trade and investment issues including market access, intellectual property, labor, and environmental issues. it will also help increase commercial opportunities by identifying and working to remove any remaining impediments to trade and investment flows between the u.s. and libya. on the political front, we are continuing an open and frank human-rights dialogue with libyans. we hope to use the mechanism of the bilateral and human rights dialogue to lay the foundation for a vigorous discussion of the issues that concern both of us. including the role of civil society, respect for freedom of speech and press, and refugee and migration issues. as libya takes on an importann role over the next year on the international stage, including serving as the president of the arab league and hosting the arab african summit at the end of this year, the u.s. will support their efforts to encourage other countries to follow its model of combating terrorism, promoting
10:19 pm
nuclear non-proliferation and encouraging ibm efforts to promote peace, stability and security in the region. continue to encourage libya andl its current capacity as president of the u.n. general assembly and as a member of the u.n. human rights council to administer the responsibilities entrusted to it in a way that encourages nations to uphold the rule of law, to abide by international regulations and to respect universal human rights. in order to continue to advance our overall agenda and the second year of normalization, we must work on the fundamentals of the relationship, that is the people to people ties ttat have entered in the face of three decades of political estrangement. the ads states has a robust plan to encourage greater people to people ties. over the last year, if we carry out a series of large public event designed to showcase american culture, promote a positive image of the u.s. and to cultivate the common interests that exist between the
10:20 pm
american and libyan people. these events range from a thanksgiving dinner for nearly 600 of the dance who had studied in the u.s. to a meeting with religious leaders and a broadway musical performance that left audiences clamoring for more. we even took the show on the road launching the first large- scale u.s. cultural program in that region and more than 50 years. innthe education sphere, we have reinstated the exchange program including the fulbright program and we anticipate sending more than 150 libyans to the u.s. on training and exchange programs in just the next year alone. we're working to improve the quality of english language instruction and american studies curriculum at universities, secondary schools, and institutes across the country. for the first time in decades, libyan students here american accents in the halls of their universities. we're also working with the
10:21 pm
libyan government to increase the number of libyans studying in the u.s. from the current 1700 to 6000. this is a remarkable change from the sanctions era which ended less than 10 years ago. to encourage an even greater number of libyans to study in the u.s., the u.s. embassy is organizing the first ever study in the usa education fair. at this event, we look forward to welcoming more than 60 american colleges, universities, english language schools and boarding schools. the embassy is working with the libyan minister of education and the plebeian ministry of foreign affairs to organize a comprehensive event that will showcase the best in u.s. education. the 2010 study in the usa education fare will mark the first organized visit by any american college or university to libya and more than 30 years. to facilitate these exchanges, we reestablished services in
10:22 pm
tripoli in the spring of 2009. in the past year, we have issued over 5500 pieces to libyan students, business people, officials, and terrorists and their now interviewing almost 50 visa applicants per day. this work allows libyans to visit the u.s. building critical people to people bonds and at the same time facilitates bilateral business, cultural, and political -- cultural development. in march, janice jacobs visited tripoli and launched the first round of the set reciprocity talks with libyan counterparts. although the issue of the set reciprocity is a complicated one, we have already witnessed a significant step forward. the libyan government announced that american tourists and business people will now be treated in the same manner as their european counterparts which will greatly facilitate tourist and business travel.
10:23 pm
number of american tourists visiting their image in urging amazing cultural heritage and truly unique " desert landscapes this summer and beyond. the decision to relinquish weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism presented a real historic opportunity to help the formally broke nation changed course. our national security mandate is that we remain engaged. this -- understanding each other's needs is what will enable us to overcome significant challenges that lie ahead. after more than three decades of suspicion and mistrust, it will take time and sustained effort for both sides to rebuild an atmosphere of mutual understanding. it is only to the establishment of institutions and relationships between americans and libyans on all levels that our bilateral relationship will be able to survive with the vicissitudes of the political arena that consent it back. as we work on developing the institutions and frameworks of our new bilateral relationships,
10:24 pm
if it is important to focus not on the suffering and tragedy of these last years but on the many opportunities that lie ahead. fortunately, in libya today, there is a reservoir of goodwill toward americans, toward our culture, and our values. toward our educational institutions and toward our commercial products. it is a population that once close ties to a nation. i hope that we can continue to capitalize on this could well and build relationships and institutions that are at the heart of any successful diplomatic relationship. the last year and half have been quite remarkable and there is no doubt that we have made considerable progress in establishing the basic framework of our new relationship. i should note that my remarks today take place against the backdrop of the tragic crash of an airline in tripoli. this terrible accident which resulted in significant loss of life also served as a reminder
10:25 pm
of how much our relationship has evolved in recent years. for the first time in decades, our two countries cooperated in an international aviation investigation with officials from the u.s. national transportation safety board working side by side with libyan, french, and other counterparts to determine the cause of this terrible accident. given the difficult history between the u.s. and libya, i have personally found this corporation to be a poignant yet encouraging symbol of the new relationship and the many positive developments still to come. thank you for your attention and i'm happy to take your questions. >> thank you very much. i think you have given us plenty of food for thought. a lot of questions to be discussed, including some that were not mentioned and the
10:26 pm
problem of political reform. i am not going to ask any questions. i want to use my colleague who has been working on issues of counter-terrorism. not only in the case of libya but other countries, as well. the second point is pleased identified herself when you ask a question and the floor is open. >> thank you for that. one thing that i am interested in is i have been following
10:27 pm
libyas or integration with the world over the last 10 years. one of the consistent things we used to hear about a lot is the unpredictability of the libyan system. people who wanteddto invest in libya cannot be assured that they could get their people in and the goods to the airport and there was simply a level of risk in any engagement having to do with libya. for many people who were interested in investing, that was an inhibiting factor. are there sectors where people have been able to overcome a lot of the obstacles where people can go into libya to invest and profits and where are the kinds of issues with the unpredictability continues to loom large in people's imaginations? >> i would agree that there certainly is a level of risk and
10:28 pm
for a lot -- as you described. i think the libyans are beginning to come to grips with that. especially as they began to welcome the u.s. businesses into libya. we are late in the game but we have had what i would call some success in the hydrocarbon field. our companies came back and they are doing as well as anybody else. a company of note has been which has been able to manage several hundred billions of dollars of projects and infrastructure, specifically housing. i think there is a very good economic team starting with the minister of finance.
10:29 pm
several people who we have met and certainly during the negotiations and signing several weeks ago, art deputy and trade representative was there. i think part of the reason that we wanted to push so hard was because of the very unpredictability you have cited. commercial and economic relationships and to an institutional basis. when a problem comes up with respect to market access for any issues that the company might face, either side can call for a meeting to discuss and to resolve the issue. we do not have to do it helter- skelter any more. beyond that, the libyans have taken some positive steps in the commercial development and
10:30 pm
investment. for example, their profits taxation continues -- if continues at pace, there will be licenses for two new banks that will be private. they have passed some laws relating to tax-free status for companies that come to libya. moving in a're positive manner. there have been some problems in the past several months rare political issues have intruded into the commercial sector and some companies have been affected by that. that has not sent a very good signal out to the rest of the commercial enterprises and the international community. they may well continue. the political situation is unpredictable as is the economic one.
10:31 pm
. . are ready and will welcome. the encouraging part of that is a thing want american compani to have the strictest standards. deite the fact they note that americanompanies are on a tight leash, >> can you share any imprrssions that the libyan leader or -- if limited -- libyan leader muamar gaddafi? >> investors don't normally get
10:32 pm
a lot of access, but the access that i have had, he is a unique leader with a unique vision. i have had a number of conversations with him and we discussed u.s. bilateral relations. i think he completely understood my points. he came back and we argued and talked and i think that things have flowed over the past couple of months. with respect to his son, he had several, obviously. i think one of them are the punitive successor to the leader. i found him to be very thoughtful. he is certainly, as far as i can tell, inclined towards a good relationship with the united
10:33 pm
states and the west. he is very interested in raising the level of the standard of living of the libyan people. in terms of reform, i think he is a potential reformist. i think he has tried to push the envelope. there is a difficult, conservative group in libya that does not want change and he has had to counter them back and forth. so i think that he has been offered a formal position and he has yet to take it. i think he is waiting for the right circumstances so that when he takes the position, he will be able to have a little more latitude to undertake these kind of reforms that he would like to read it would not be easy. i think he is aware of that. as we look to the future, as he
10:34 pm
becomes to play a important role, i think that we will see a change in a lot of the key areas that we would like to see change in. >> my name is [unintelligible] i am stationed in the united states. i have, first of all, to congratulate you on your work. i saw you in the ceremony at the state department. i wanted to ask you, what are the complete steps that you have taken to elevate democracy promotion in the country as we know it was to mark the second one is the facilitation. i am originally from the eastern part of libya. in the 1960's, i had my visa taken away before i became an
10:35 pm
american citizen. for anyone in the eastern part to have any kind of facilities have to come to tripoli. expanding your services is very important. the very last, to facilitate more relationships. >> with respect to your first difficult one. it is a very important part of the united states agenda, in any country, is the promotion of democracy, the expansion of civil society. as you can guess, it is a very delicate issue for the libyans. there are really no organizations that are not government license that this particular point. we have to be very careful in the way that we approach this.
10:36 pm
i am not saying that that is the way that we want to do it, but to be realistic, it is the way that we have to. it is for to be evolutionary rather than a revolutionary process. we want to find those areas where we can make a difference so that we are present when the reform space opens up. so, what we do is we try to open up the pieces and have people come back and forth. that is a tremendous multiplier effect. the more that they come here, the more they see and the more they talk when they come back. we do it through commercial training. for example, we have the training of libyan judges could we have a very active and aggressive program to bring
10:37 pm
libyan judges to the united states to see how we work. we brought our judges to libya as well. this sets up a potential to have a judiciary that is -- that works according to law. it allows for the sanctity of contracts. it allows for -- brings into play arbitration. i think hese are very powerful things. i agree, they are not the sexy topics and the most important things that we would like to do with respect to the overall expansion of democracy, but we have to be careful about how we approach that. we are trying and weelook to the khaddafi foundation -- the gad dafi foundation.
10:38 pm
we have programs that we are trying to create on women's of use. -- women's of use -- abuse. so cal, this does not satisfy wt we would like to do, but it is a good start and it enables us to work at a pace that does not cause any government pressure to come down on the spirit we will continue to look for the opportunities that we can to expand that space. in respect to your second question, you are absolutely right. i have been there a few times and i have sent my officers there and they do it minister consular services -- they do it minister consular services to people in the region -- they do administer consular services to
10:39 pm
people in the region. that is a bridge too far at this point, but we are servicing the needs of the people in the eastern part of the country. >> i will take a vantage for a moment and ask a question myself. you mentioned the relation between libya's role with respect to the arab league and in respect to arab countries. one gets the impression that libya is having a great deal of trouble deciding whether he really wants to be part of the arab world or to expand his interests elsewhere the way other arab leaders have done in the past. could you comment on that? >> i think that prior to several years ago, the colonel has tried
10:40 pm
to play a lead role in the arab world. i think that he was probably not as successful as he would like to have been. at some point, he did turn his attention to africa. he pursued a very active policy with respect to the africans which led to the creation of the african union in 1999. he became the chairman last year and was very active trying to promote a one africa policy, which i think met with a lot of resistance among several of the africans because it was moving too quickly. i think that they thought the concept was a good one, but the timing was just not right due to the states of development of the
10:41 pm
various african countries. i think that he sees himself playing a role in both africa and libya. he may not be as active as he was in africa just by virtue of the fact that he is no longer chairman, but certainly they hosted the arab league summit in march and he certainly played an active role in that. i think he sees himself a vital member of both worlds. -- as a vital member of both worlds. >> [inaudible]
10:42 pm
is a chance to let you know what we are hearing from our sources from libya. one of the most important things -- among the intellectuals is the consensus that as long as qaddafi is in power, there will be no genuine reform. everybody in libya is accepting this fact and would like to
10:43 pm
convey this fact to anybody that is following. they are telling us this leeder has been 40 years in power and has his own style. i do not want to talk about his record because it is not very pleasant. for the sake of the future, that is what they are telling us. there will be no room for any meaningful reform as long as gaddafi is in power. i would like very much for our government's and our ambassador to get engaged in one of the very hot issues in libya. this issue reminds me of lockerbie and other issues this is the issue of the prison massacre.
10:44 pm
must have heard that there are people who are weekly demonstrating and asking for their list of demands to be answered by the libyan government. 1200 people were massacred in one day in one prison. everybody knows who is behind that. the people are asking that government institutions, ambassadorships, to look carefully at this because the way the government of libya is handling this is not the proper way. >> i don't think i am capable to say -- to address the issue if
10:45 pm
there will be any reform during the time of colonel qaddafi. i can say that there have been some positive developments. i will not call the major developments. for example, a human rights watch held an open conference where it talk about libya and its human rights findings. at that meeting, there was a direct and quite unprecedented dialogue between the family is in the government. -- between the families and the government. out of that, there was a promise to follow what and take into account what the families were asking in terms of death certificates, compensation and what happened to their loved
10:46 pm
ones during that episode. there is some movement. i can't say that it probably satisfies those that were involved, those that had loved ones killed there, but it is some measure of the fact that there can be some dialogue. there has been some release of some people from prison, including some who have been held beyond their terms for different offenses. also, i would say that, going back, he has been trying to push the envelope, whether through media or through his efforts with respect to the rehabilitation of former terrorists. so, i would not say that there is no chance of reform.
10:47 pm
what i would say is that it is a very delicate issue. there are those that are seeking reform. it is one to be a very difficult process. i would not give a poll and say that nothing can happen because we have seen some steps being taken. >> i am from the national conference of the libyan opposition. does the united states consider
10:48 pm
any sort of pressure on the libyan government returning any more rights to libya? this is my first question. my second question, how do you view relations with the libyan regime taking into account the government of libya being one of the most corrupted governments and the world? also, it is a dictatorship. there is not any kind ofpeech. freedom, really. people are suffering. since you said you visited the area, i am sure you are aware of the dire situation of the young man in that area.
10:49 pm
it is worse in other cities. this brings to mind the idea the qaddafi is fighting islamic radical lists -- radical lislis. this man has fought for his freedom. if you go to the city, you'll find agents recruiting young men who are in dire situation. they have no future, no education, no job. they are under the watchful eye of the regime security forces and they send them to iraq to
10:50 pm
fight the americans. this is a fact. it was written about in " "newsweek". this shows how things never change. i would like your view on that. thank you. >> we have been absent from libya for almost 30 years. we are just back in the second year of full normalization. i am not going to justify the fact that we do not have a very public campaign of pressure on libya at this point. i do not think that it would be very effective. we are just in the early stages of establishing a relationship with them there is still a lot of -- with them. there is still a lot of suspicion. we have had incidents in the
10:51 pm
past where we have tried to do very public events with respect to pushing the human rights of low and we have -- human rights envelope and we have had a blow back from that. it was counterproductive. it was the situation that we face. i assure you that we conduct a very serious human rights dialogue with them, but it is done behind closed doors. i know that that is not a very satisfactory answer, but i have found, and maybe this will come out at some point when we do a diplomatic history, that in fact, there have been discussions that we have had when we have tackled the most sensitive and delicate issues of human rights behind closed doors rather than putting it out in the public domain.
10:52 pm
i think that that is probably going to be the way, at least for awhile, that we operate. until we get to a point where we have the kind of relationship where we can impact events as we do in some other countries. as i said, it is going to be an evolutionary process. because you do not hear about what we are doing in public, and we're not taking a very aggressive stance in public, it does not mean that we are not doing it. we are. but we are doing it in a way that the judge to be most appropriate and will lead to most results. as far as the fact of were you able colonel qaddafi a dictator and that there were no freedoms
10:53 pm
at all, both republican and democratic administration have now determined that a relationship with libya is in the u.s. national security interest. on the basis of that, i have argued and i think that we continue to argue at the highest levels, that engagement is in the u.s. interest. in that context, we will try to achieve the highest goals and the kind of civil society reforms and all the kinds of things that we stand for as a country and a nation and a people, but we will do with in a way that will be successful over time as we develop this relationship. >> hello, i am jason pack. thank you ambassador cretz for
10:54 pm
your erspective. we have heard from one that as long as this is universally good knowledge, as long as qaddafi in power, nothing changes, and we have heard that qaddafi will never change. i would like to show you the opposite. libya it is a rapidly changing, exceedingly volatile place economically and politically. in the late 1990's, during the sanctions. , -- during the sanctions period, could you comment on the tremendous changes that the libyan economy, both private and governmental have seen. particularly 1997 and depicting
10:55 pm
libya as undertaking rapid change since it was government controlled in the past. but i agree with you. on the economic side, there has been tremendous reform and tremendous activity. they are now executing approximately $130 billion worth of projects. a lot of thae contracts and othr development schemes were helter- skelter in a frenzied attempt to try to catch up from 40 years of stagnation. they are, in terms of the new laws and partnerships and privatizing banks with letters
10:56 pm
of credit, that they are expanding. there are a very dynamic opening. the fact that i said that they have a very good economic team that realizes that they that -- that this is their future and that they have to develop institutions that meet international standards if they are going to be able to attract the kind of technology and companies that they know is necessary for their country. on the economic front, absolutely. but again, caveat that with the fact that we are in a volatile political and economical situation where things can change from one day to the next.
10:57 pm
it has happened several times since the time that i have been there. people are beginning to realize that if libya is going to shed its image of unpredictability and volatility, that there are going to have to be more institutional with respect to the procedures and standards that they operate by. >> thank you, mr. ambassador. i'd like to know your comments and your opinion about the speech in cairo when he was talking about the constitution. fox this is a -- >> he has been all over the map in terms of trying to test the whole spectrum of potential reforms in libya that i think he
10:58 pm
would like the country to go in. the constitution, as far as i know, has been worked on for the past several years. they started with scholars from the united states and europe. as far as i know, the came to a document -- they came to a document that seemed almost ready for prime time. i expect that as the makes the decision as to how he will either take this new position or not taking it, that we will again see talked and hopefully action towards putting the constitution in place as well as other reforms. >> i would ask you to go back to a question that you did not say
10:59 pm
very much about. it is concerning the counter terrorist program and the steps the country has made. the whole aspect of what is going on in the country. perhaps you can get into the discussion. >> this was basically an initiative to try to rehabilitate members of the libyan is like fighting group who had gone off to afghanistan and have come back and have begun, as a group, to seek the overthrow of the qaddafi regime and then morphed into more of the al qaeda network by

67 Views

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on